International Anti-corruption Day 2021 Celebration by P4D and its partner District policy forums
UN member countries around the world have observed the International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December every year since 2005. Celebrating this day raises awareness of corruption and combats and prevents it to promote resilience and integrity at all levels of society. The 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day highlighted individual rights and responsibilities with the theme “Your right, your role: Say no to Corruption”. The United Nations took its first step to fight corruption in December 2003 when it passed the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). This later came into effect on 14 December 2005. Celebrating Anti-Corruption Day in Bangladesh bears special significance at this point, as the government has taken measures to curb corruption in public and private spheres with the introduction of social accountability tools.
The Government of Bangladesh formulated and approved a National Integrity Strategy (NIS)
in 2012 as a comprehensive good governance strategy to prevent corruption and improve national integrity in all spheres of life. P4D has been working with local and regional civil society organisations, youth groups, the media, and government officials to help facilitate the implementation of and raise awareness about four social accountability tools. These include the NIS, the Right to Information Act, Citizen's Charters, and the Grievance Redress System. NIS sits at the pinnacle as a vade mecum to fight corruption and ensure good governance.
In December, 12 partner District Policy Forums (DPFs) organised discussion meetings and
cultural programmes to celebrate International Anti-Corruption Day 2021. Government
officials, DPF members, representatives of civil society organisations, community leaders, teachers, college students, members of youth groups, youth entrepreneurs, leaders of indigenous communities, and local journalists participated in these discussion meetings. In total, nearly 800 participants joined the discussions which were mostly in person with a small number of participants joining online. Appropriate measures were taken at each event to ensure proper health and safety protocols. The participants enthusiastically engaged in the discussion against corruption and expressed their views on how to fight corruption and promote a strong culture of integrity throughout a socioeconomic and sociocultural lens.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) and District Magistrate of Jamalpur District, Ms Morsheda
Zaman, said, “we have to try to change ourselves first by changing our own moral character. There is no alternative to build a corruption-free society or environment towards building a corruption-free Bangladesh.” Mr Hayat-Ud-Dowlah Khan, the DC of Brahmanbaria, emphasised the importance of reducing the gap between the service receiver, the citizens, and service providers of different departments of the government. He said, "inspired by patriotism, a social movement must be formed to prevent corruption."
Md. Zakaria, Deputy Director of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Kushtia, said, “when service providers and service recipients are mutually corrupt, it becomes very difficult to bring it under the law. So, we must say no to corruption from an individual level. Every person must know and understand the law and know the correct information. The Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh works on legislation as well as raising awareness. Children are the future of our nation. Therefore, to engender anti-corruption sentiment in children, anti-corruption debates, discussion meetings, and rallies have to be organised at schools and colleges. This way, we will be able to create a corruption-free Bangladesh for the next generation".
Hearing from such prominent members of society throughout the 12 DPF discussion
meetings have given these communities momentum to continue their work to promote social accountability and integrity. With the common goal of a corruption-free Bangladesh, communities that reinforce anti-corruption policies will continue to bolster good governance practices.
The DPFs also carried out online campaigns on Anti-Corruption Day through social media platforms to ensure reaching a wider audience base. The celebration activities organised by the DPFs were picked up by local and national news outlets and published in different newspapers and news portals.