Government, business and churches across the globe are being challenged to expose and tackle corruption which is identified as one of the major factors in ensuring that many millions of people remain trapped in poverty.
The call comes from an international coalition of Christian organisations called EXPOSED at the start of a year of global awareness-raising culminating in a major week of campaigning and its Global Vigil against Corruption planned for 14-20 October 2013.
Dr Dion Forster, International Co-ordinator of EXPOSED, says it a scandal that so many people live in dire poverty and so many resources end up in the wrong hands. "Every year well over US$1 TRILLION goes missing through mismanagement, illicit business practices and poor governance ", Dr Forster says. "It doesn't have to be this way. This money doesn’t just evaporate - it is actually deducted from the livelihood of some of the poorest people in the world."
EXPOSED will be officially launched in London on Thursday October 11, 2012 at Central Hall Westminster in the heart of British government, where partners and media will hear how, over the next 12 months, millions of people across the world will be mobilised to commit to and promote practical steps for ethical behaviour in business, government, the Church and society as a whole, culminating in the Global Vigil against Corruption.
"Our job is to provide a forum in which 100 million Christians will remind us and the world of God’s passion for the poor. We want people to become advocates and practitioners of justice to help shine a light on corruption wherever it is present, to ensure integrity is established or restored in financial and political systems, and resources are shared equitably so that everyone has the opportunity to flourish," says Rev Joel Edwards, chair of EXPOSED and international director of Micah Challenge, who are partners in the campaign along with the Bible Society of the United Kingdom, the Bible Society of North America, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical and the World Evangelical Alliance.
Dr Goodwill Shana, head of the Christian denominations in Zimbabwe, says that while corruption is present everywhere, from the boardrooms of corporations in developed countries to the dusty streets of developing nations, it plays a far more significant role in Africa by keeping the poor in the unrelenting grip of destitution. A report by the campaign group Global Financial Integrity suggests that corruption and tax evasion cost the developing world as much as $903bn in 2009 .
EXPOSED aims to empower and equip government, communities and individuals to expose corrupt practices, to combat corruption and make decision-making and financial and trade transactions more transparent. In addition to challenging individuals to become more accountable in their own perceptions and personal behaviour, EXPOSED wants governments and the global financial community to implement robust internationally agreed protocols to tackle high level bribery, corruption and tax evasion.
Over the next year, individuals will be asked to sign an anti-corruption Global Call to be presented to the G20 summit of leading world economies in 2014. This will request that leaders continue with efforts to make all financial transactions accountable, to prevent bribery and to exchange tax information with other governments to cut down on tax avoidance. The Global Call will also stress the importance of enforceable laws to send a message to business and governments everywhere that corruption is not ‘business as usual’.
Personal and group action against corruption is also being advocated in the run-up to EXPOSED2013. Christians everywhere are being asked to make a personal commitment to integrity, and churches will have the chance to shine a light in their communities by holding national Vigils against corruption. In churches across the world it’s hoped that the anti-corruption message will be prominent, and that as many people as possible will be encouraged to take part in the Exposed Global Vigil against Corruption scheduled for 14–20 October 2013.
EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor. The EXPOSED coalition partners include the Bible Society of the United Kingdom, the Bible Society of North America, The Salvation Army, Unashamedly Ethical, the World Evangelical Alliance and Micah Challenge International. For more information about EXPOSED go to www.exposed2013.com.
Footnote 1 : Interview with Daniel Kaufman, Global Governance Director, The World Bank Institute, “Six Questions about the cost of corruption” April 8th 2004
Footnote 2: December 2011 report from Washington-based Global Financial Integrity