Person on city street holds sign that says stop corruption.
News and Updates

Political and Electoral Integrity: The Importance of the UNCAC on its 20th Anniversary

By: Catherine Murphy, IFES Research Coordinator and Richard Nash, IFES Senior Global Advisor


On this International Anti-Corruption Day, we are looking ahead to 2024. Next year will be the biggest election year in history, with voters in nearly 70 countries expected to head polls to make their voices heard. IFES will be monitoring and providing public updates on these through our ElectionGuide.

Unfortunately, in many countries, by the time a voter steps up to the ballot box, however, corrupt actors have already had plenty of time to strike. Ensuring transparency, exposing corrupt activities, and understanding the risks that corruption presents to these elections will be vital in ensuring people across the world can elect representatives and leaders of their choice. Corruption in elections used to primarily take the form of ballot box stuffing, vote buying, and results tampering. However, corrupt actors have since expanded their toolkit to be increasingly difficult to detect. Now, these actors can launder illicit funds to the campaigns of politicians sympathetic to their cause, subvert electoral processes by using foreign interference, and fund disinformation campaigns, all the while being increasingly difficult to detect. Critically, some scholars have concluded that corruption increases in the lead-up to elections. This is particularly the case in competitive elections like many of the contests in 2024 are expected to be.

Thus, in a record year for elections, it appears the world may also be slated for a record year of electoral corruption.

IFES’s Center for Anti-Corruption and Democratic Trust leverages decades of technical expertise in delivering credible elections around the world to provide top-notch anti-corruption programming. Our work is grounded by the notion that electoral support must seek to tackle new forms of corruption that undermine the integrity of elections, as well as make investments into the full chain of preventative and enforcement measures.

IFES is a longtime leader in political finance research and programming and has a suite of resources to support actors advocating for transparency, including:

In the lead-up to the 10th United Nations Convention Against Corruption Conference of the States Parties (UNCAC CoSP) in Atlanta, Georgia, IFES is proud to continue to advocate for political finance transparency as a key anti-corruption priority that supports political integrity. In the 20 years since UNCAC’s adoption, there has never been a resolution on political finance. As such, IFES, along with other civil society organizations and international organizations, has prepared a joint statement to encourage states parties to adopt meaningful measures to address gaps in Article 7.3 of the convention and improve political finance transparency.

We encourage any organizations interested in this critical push for transparency to sign onto the Joint Statement using this link and to stay engaged with updates coming out of the UNCAC CoSP.