The Global Corruption Report (GCR) is one of Transparency International’s flagship publications, bringing the expertise of the anti‐corruption movement to bear on a specific corruption issue. Most recent reports have focused on corruption in climate change, the private sector, water and the judiciary.

The report highlights cutting edge qualitative and quantitative research, gathers knowledge on lessons learnt and showcases innovative tools. In doing so, it enhances our understanding of the dynamics of corruption and seeks to provide practical and proven solutions to improve governance and accountability.

Corruption in sport initiative

Sport is a multi-billion dollar business engaging billions of people. It is also a global symbol of fair play and a source of great joy for many people on this planet, whether participating, attending or watching events.

With so much public involvement, political influence and money at stake, corruption remains a constant and real risk. Mounting scandals around match-fixing, major events and elections, and systemic deficiencies in sports governance are now so undermining public trust that it is reaching a tipping point.

Keeping sports clean is therefore a global imperative. Our goal is to ensure that sport can continue to “create a way of life based on (…) the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles” (Olympic Charter).


Education is a fundamental human right and a major driver of human and economic development.

Integrity in research underpins knowledge generation and evidence-based policy-making. Together education and research shape the societies in which we live.

Corruption and poor governance is a major impediment to realizing the right to education, and to reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Dakar Education for All Framework for Action by 2015. Corruption not only distorts access to education, but affects the quality of education and the reliability of research findings. From corruption in the procurement of school resources and nepotism in the hiring of teachers, to the skewing of research results for personal gain, major corruption risks can be identified at every level of education and research systems. Conversely, education serves as a means to strengthen personal integrity, and is essential for addressing corruption effectively.

Climate Change

The Global Corruption Report is the first comprehensive publication of its kind to explore the corruption risks related to tackling climate change.

From international policy-making to national level mitigation and adaptation strategies and with a special focus on the forestry sector, the GCR draws on the expertise of more than 50 experts and practitioners from the anti-corruption movement and the climate change field.

Private Sector

The private sector can be a source of dynamic innovation and growth. Nonetheless, as Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2009 clearly demonstrates, it can also fail to live up to its potential, if corruption goes unchecked, and turn into a destructive force that undermines fair competition, stifles economic growth and political development and ultimately undercuts its own existence.

Despite prominent corruption scandals and the lack of transparency and accountability that has been shown to lie at the root of the financial crisis, there has been encouraging and real progress towards stronger corporate integrity. Corporate performance in the fight against corruption often does not yet match corporate commitments, however. Crucial corruption risks, as well as loopholes in transparency, accountability and oversight, persist across all industries and all countries. Dynamic markets continue to produce new and subtle corruption challenges.

Water Sector

Corruption in the water sector puts the lives and livelihoods of billions of people at risk. As the Global Corruption Report 2008 demonstrates, the onset of climate change and the increasing stress on water supply around the world make the fight against corruption in water more urgent than ever. Without increased advocacy to stop corruption in water, there will be high costs to economic and human development, the destruction of vital ecosystems, and the fuelling of social tension or even conflict over this essential resource. This report clearly shows that the corruption challenge needs to be recognized in the many global policy initiatives for environmental sustainability, development and security that relate to water.

As the Global Corruption Report 2008 reveals, there are several encouraging initiatives from all over the world that demonstrate success in tackling water corruption. This is the pivotal message that more than twenty experts and practitioners emphasize in this report. In addition, the Global Corruption Report 2008 – which is the first report to assess how corruption affects all aspects of water – reflects on what more can be done to ensure that corruption does not continue to destroy this basic and essential resource, one that is so fundamental to the lives of people all over the planet.

Judicial Systems

Corruption is undermining justice in many parts of the world, denying victims and the accused the basic human right to a fair and impartial trial. This is the critical conclusion of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2007.

It is difficult to overstate the negative impact of a corrupt judiciary: it erodes the ability of the international community to tackle transnational crime and terrorism; it diminishes trade, economic growth and human development; and, most importantly, it denies citizens impartial settlement of disputes with neighbors or the authorities. When the latter occurs, corrupt judiciaries fracture and divide communities by keeping alive the sense of injury created by unjust treatment and mediation. Judicial systems debased by bribery undermine confidence in governance by facilitating corruption across all sectors of government, starting at the helm of power. In so doing they send a blunt message to the people: in this country corruption is tolerated.


Every year, the world spends more than US $3 trillion on health services, most of which is financed by taxpayers. These large flows of funds are an attractive target for abuse. The stakes are high and the resources precious: money lost to corruption could be used to buy medicines, equip hospitals or hire badly needed medical staff.

The diversity of health systems worldwide, the multiplicity of parties involved, the paucity of good record keeping in many countries, and the complexity in distinguishing among corruption, inefficiency and honest mistakes make it difficult to determine the overall costs of corruption in this sector around the globe. But the scale of corruption is vast in both rich and poor countries. In the United States, which spends more on health care – 15.3 per cent of its GDP – than any other industrialized nation, the two largest US public health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid, estimate that 5–10 per cent of their budget is lost to ‘overpayment’. In Cambodia, health practitioners interviewed for the Global Corruption Report 2006 estimate that more than 5 per cent of the health budget is lost to corruption before it even leaves central government.

Construction and post-conflict reconstruction

Corruption doesn’t just line the pockets of political and business elites; it leaves ordinary people without essential services, such as life-saving medicines, and deprives them of access to sanitation and housing. In short, corruption costs lives.

Nowhere is corruption more ingrained than in the construction sector, the focus of Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report 2005. From the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, transparency in public contracting is arguably the single most important factor in determining the success of donor support in sustainable development. Corrupt contracting processes leave developing countries saddled with sub-standard infrastructure and excessive debt.

Political Corruption

The Global Corruption Report 2004 provides an overview of the state of corruption around the world. It covers national and international developments, institutional and legal change and activities within both the private sector and civil society for the period from July 2002 to June 2003. This year the Global Corruption Report focuses on political corruption. It presents 34 country reports and the latest research on corruption.

Political corruption is the abuse of entrusted power by political leaders for private gain. The scale of the problem can be vast. One of the world’s most corrupt leaders, Mohamed Suharto of Indonesia, allegedly embezzled up to US $35 billion in a country with a GDP of less than US $700 per capita.

Corruption in political finance takes many forms, ranging from vote buying and the use of illicit funds to the sale of appointments and the abuse of state resources. Not all are illegal. Legal donations to political parties often result in policy changes, for example. A 2003 World Economic Forum survey finds that in 89 per cent of the 102 countries surveyed the direct influence of legal political donations on specific policy outcomes is moderate or high.

Access to Information

The corrupt are running out of places to hide. That is the message that runs through the Global Corruption Report 2003. Empowered by technology – essential to the prompt and accurate flow of information – the media and the public are increasingly calling businesses and politicians to account.

To help secure that flow of information, national chapters of Transparency International have campaigned for freedom of information in Germany, Lebanon, Mexico, Panama and many other countries. Under their scrutiny and that of other civil society organizations and the wider public, governments are taking steps to further the cause of transparency. From Chile and Brazil to South Korea and India, the spread of e-government involves increasing use of the internet to disseminate public information and to open up the bidding process in public tenders and privatizations.

But freedom of information is not enough. However professionally and accurately information is processed, corruption will continue to thrive without the vigilance of the media and civil society, and the bravery of investigative journalists and whistleblowers in particular.


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