How young people are turning the tide against corruption

Yoiuth 2019

(Unsplash, 2019)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Blair Glencorse, Founder and Executive Director, The Accountability Lab & Friday Odeh, Country Director, Accountability Lab Nigeria


A deluge of corruption-related news and scandals has recently rocked the world. The President of Guatemala has expelled a key United Nations anti-corruption body from the country. Romania’s anti-corruption chief has stepped down just as the country is taking over the Presidency of the EU. Japan’s Olympic Chief is facing allegations of bribery over Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 games, and the Danske Bank money laundering probe continues to deepen.

This is not filling global youth with hope for the future. Young people continue to name corruption as the biggest challenge they face, according to a survey carried out through the Accountability Lab in conjunction the World Economic Forum. And with good reason – corruption has a high cost for society and the economy. It depletes public funds that should pay for education, healthcare and other basic services sorely needed in those countries most affected by it. Businesses and individuals – mostly the poor – pay more than $1 trillion in bribes every year, which undermines trust, exacerbates inequality and severs the social contract.

It is easy to get depressed about this. But there are plenty of reasons to believe that 2019 will be the year in which young people turn the tide against this lack of integrity and accountability. A new generation of change-makers is putting anti-corruption and accountability firmly at the centre of their understanding of global leadership across business, politics, media and civil society.

In business, this clearly showed at Davos 2019, which was chaired for the first time by Global Shapers from the World Economic Forum’s youth network. Accountability for everything from corruption in global corporations to state capture in South Africa were key topics of discussion. These Global Shapers and their contemporaries are leading the way in the corporate world, where now more than ever, young consumers prefer to work and shop at businesses that drive social good.

CEOs understand this. The likes of David Cruickshank at Deloitte and Paul Polman, formerly at Unilever, are speaking out strongly on issues of ethical business. At a recent World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption (PACI) meeting, which included many leading global corporations, there was a clear consensus on the idea that values-based organizations are not just better for the world, but also more profitable in the long-term.

In government, a new generation of politicians and bureaucrats is emerging, pushing for more inclusive, transparent decision-making. In Malaysia, the 27-year-old Minister of Youth and Sports Syed Saddiq has not shied away from calling out the kleptocratic behaviour of elites. In Botswana, the 32-year-old Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo is pushing back against unfair business practices. During our recent global Integrity Idol campaign to “name and fame” honest bureaucrats, we found hundreds of young, honest civil servants doing everything from fighting corruption in the police to ensuring fair justice at the local level.

In the media, the ability of youth activists to set a national and global accountability agenda is growing rapidly. Young people are creating news checking sites to combat fake news; bloggers in countries including Nigeria are pushing for decision-making based on openness and honesty; and incredibly brave investigative journalists are taking on corrupt regimes and criminal networks. The proliferation of social media has made it harder for those in power to listen only to dishonest elites. Tech-savvy young media-makers have shown that they won’t be silenced or strong-armed by the corrupt, and are building a collective voice for change.

Finally, a new wave of civic activists is pushing back against the old ways of fighting corruption, and showing real progress. These new groups are nimble and collaborative, not bureaucratic and competitive, and draw on historic lessons from movement-building, theories of strategic non-violent action, and ethnographic approaches within specific contexts. Networks such as Libera are taking on the mafia and “spreading a culture of legality” in Italy; groups such as Al Bawsala are bringing transparency to decision-making in Tunisia; and coalitions such as Africans Rising are effectively supporting people-powered action in countries from Nigeria to Zimbabwe.

Corruption remains arguably the largest impediment to global economic and political progress. But there is a new generation finding creative, collective ways to push back against it.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

Teamgum @ TheNextWeb 2014

Where are people most proud to be European?

UK must make clear what it wants, MEPs say in Brexit debate

DR Congo Ebola outbreak still an international public health concern

What do toilets have to do with climate change?

The financial world upside-down: debt failure closer

EU’s Finance Ministers draft plan to raise tax bills of online giants like Google and Amazon

The clothes of the future could be made from pineapples and bananas

Political solutions ‘prerequisite to sustainable peace’, Lacroix tells Security Council

Why economic growth depends on closing the interview gap

Why do medical curricula shouldn’t neglect the Sustainable Development Goals

Microsoft says the internet is getting a little nicer

Mental health and suicide prevention: why focus on primary care

More children killed by unsafe water, than bullets, says UNICEF chief

Is the English language too powerful?

Female directors reached record highs in 2019 Hollywood

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

Quality of air in Bucharest-Romania: is it fog or is it smog?

The anti-vaccine movement shows the peril of a post-truth world

Why is black plastic packaging so hard to recycle?

Ebola: EU releases additional €3.5 million to tackle epidemic

The 28 EU leaders care more about fiscal orthodoxy than effectively fighting youth unemployment

Early signs of growth in Eurozone?

It’s Time to Disrupt Europe, Digital First

Draghi repels Trump’s threats, rejects Schauble’s dictums

Palm Oil: With Malaysia cracking down on production, what’s the alternative?

Sudan: New political transition, bolstered by peacebuilding, could bring long-term stability to Darfur, Security Council told

New migration pact highlights key role of business in protecting migrants, say UN experts

Memoirs from a unique trip to China: “my new old dragon” (Part I)

Zero carbon by 2050 is possible. Here is what we need to do

Can collective action cure what’s ailing our food systems?

What UK and EU risk if Brexit “wins” these elections

3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

“Asia-Pacific takes stock of ambitious development targets”, written by the Heads of UNFPA and ESCAP

India can soar in the robot age. This is how

JADE Spring Meeting Live Coverage: Entrepreneurial skills in the digital markets

Afghanistan probe: ‘at least 60 civilians’ killed after US military airstrikes on alleged drug labs

‘Concerted effort’ must be made to help 600 million-plus adolescent girls realize full potential: Guterres

Why nature is the most important stakeholder of the coming decade

Stop illegal trade in cats and dogs, says European Parliament

European Youth, quo vadis?

This is the environmental catastrophe you’ve probably never heard of

Forty-two countries adopt new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Chart of the day: These countries have the largest carbon footprints

UN envoy ‘encouraged’ by latest talks on avoiding ‘worst-case scenario’ in Syria’s Idlib

Can we measure the temperature of human cells? A young scientist explains

‘Chance for peace’ in South Sudan finally within reach, declares UN Peacekeeping chief

What is ‘South-South cooperation’ and why does it matter?

UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Kofi Annan, ‘a guiding force for good’

5 things you need to know about creativity

35th ACP-EU Assembly: migration and demographics will dominate the debate

Climate Change Revolution: by-laws for the world

Only international actions can settle the world’s ‘enormous and diverse cross-border challenges’, Qatar tells UN Assembly

Can ECB’s €60 billion a month save Eurozone?

Disaster Medicine in Medical Education: the investment you just can´t afford to ignore

Mental health and suicide: from the 19th century to present

GSMA Announces Speakers for Mobile 360 – Russia & CIS 2018

These 4 trends are shaping the future of your job

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s