Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index Reveals a Decade of Stagnation in Anti-Graft Efforts

This week, the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI) released its annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a highly regarded global corruption ranking of jurisdictions around the world. Despite 2021 being a significant year for anti-corruption efforts, including the United Nations General Assembly’s first-ever Special Session against corruption and the establishment of a U.N. anti-corruption network, this year’s CPI reveals that corruption levels remain at a standstill worldwide.

According to Transparency International, the global average CPI score remains at 43, where it has stood for 10 years straight. Concerningly, the CPI showed “that control of corruption has stagnated or worsened in 86 percent of countries over the last decade” despite commitments made in recent years by the global community. According to the watchdog, while 25 countries have significantly improved their scores in the last decade, nearly the same amount of jurisdictions have significantly declined in that period, with the worst performer being Canada, a member of the G7, which made tackling corruption a priority of the group in 2021. In fact, TI suggest in their analysis that “the scores of several democracies that used to top the Index and champion anti-corruption efforts around the world are deteriorating [and] that many of these high-scoring countries remain safe havens for corrupt individuals from abroad,” thereby enabling transnational corruption.

Two years into a pandemic that has exacerbated corruption, the renowned global watchdog sounded the alarm by suggesting that the COVID-19 crisis has "been used in many countries as an excuse to curtail basic freedoms and sidestep important checks and balances." For the United States, which dropped out of the top 25 for the first time in the index’s decades-plus history, it’s no surprise that the current administration established the fight against corruption as a “core United States national security interest” in 2021. And as this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index revealed, there is a tremendous amount of work needed to be done to not only safeguard our natural rights but to secure the global financial system from those seeking to undermine the rule of law and global hegemony.

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