Thank you, Assistant Secretary Robinson. Your leadership on this issue set is indispensable. Secretary Blinken, Coordinator Nephew, colleagues, and friends, I am delighted to be here today to celebrate these courageous honorees.

This weekend, we will commemorate the 20-year anniversary of the first and only global anti-corruption instrument – the UN Convention against Corruption or UNCAC. This distinguished group, through their advocacy and actions, embodies the central message of that consequential document: the betrayal of the public trust will no longer be tolerated.

The drafters of UNCAC – which included the United States – understood the corrosive impact of corruption and recognized it as a transnational challenge. It affects all countries regardless of the level of development, political system, or history. Thus, preventing and countering corruption is a shared responsibility among all countries.

UNCAC responded to these threats by providing governments with the tools to counter this scourge at the global level. The Convention endures.

Its comprehensive set of standards, measures, and rules are even more relevant today than they were 20 years ago.

What we have learned since UNCAC’s adoption is that while corruption is a cross-cutting global challenge, every country experiences it in different ways, which requires tailored solutions.

For example, in Moldova, through the courageous work of President Sandu’s administration, the country is countering Russia’s interference and the actions of other corrupt actors by fortifying its democracy, modernizing its economy, and aligning its institutions with European neighbors. I had the privilege of visiting Moldova last week and was honored to meet with Minister of Justice Veronica Mihailov-Moraru, who is on the frontlines of these efforts, and is one of the champions we are celebrating here today.

For our part, President Biden has elevated corruption as a core national security interest. We are actively implementing the first-ever U.S. Strategy on Countering Corruption that the President issued two years ago. This strategy has domestic and international components, acknowledging that we must confront corruption here at home, as well as prioritize it in our foreign policy.

We also are committed to working with you, the honorees here today, and all those who stand with us across the globe, dedicated to shining a light on corrupt behavior. When Secretary Blinken launched the Anti-Corruption Champions Award in 2021, we not only wanted to celebrate you, but also learn from your invaluable expertise and experience. The fight against corruption is a collective effort, and thus we must foster critical engagement across public and private institutions, and across borders. This will bolster our policies and advance the unshakable principles of accountability and integrity ingrained in the UNCAC.

Thank you for joining us here today, and congratulations again to our honorees. I now have the immense honor of welcoming to the podium an admired friend, and a phenomenal boss, Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

U.S. Department of State

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