Corruption in Water Costs Billions of Dollars, Hits Poor the Hardest – Global Report

To compensate for the losses caused by corruption, Transparency International reports that an additional $45 billion would have to be invested over the next decade in order to reach the Millenium Development Goals, particularly increasing the access to safe water.


The Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2008: Corruption in the Water Sector” reveals corruption costs billions of dollars and hits poor the hardest.

Organized by IBON Foundation and Water Integrity Network (WIN), the East Asia forum launch of the TI report was held October 24 in Makati City. The GCR was previously launched in New York City, USA and in the Netherlands.

Priya Shah, assistant programme coordinator of the WIN, shared the highlights of the GCR 2008.

WIN is a network of individuals and organizations that are able and willing to support the cause of increasing Water Integrity. It has over 650 members in more than 50 countries.

Shah said corruption manifests in all of the areas of the water sector – water resources management, water and sanitation, water for food, and water for energy.

The GCR contains over 30 country reports.

According to the report, corruption jacks up the cost of water services between 10 to 30 percent globally each year.

Shah said that illegal payoffs increase the cost and lower the quality of public works projects by between 30 to 50 percent. Government monopolies inflate the prices for goods by as much as 15 to 20 percent as a result of illicit gains. Governments can pay prices inflated anywhere from 20 to 100 percent for expensive goods and services due to over-billing of procurement contracts.

Renaud Meyer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director, said that more than US$1 trillion (US $1,000 billion) are paid in bribes every year, just over three percent of world income in 2002.

More than 70 percent of small and medium enterprises in transition economies perceive corruption as an impediment to their business, he added.

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