Kathmandu, January 29
The 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index released today by Transparency International reveals that the continued failure of most countries, including Nepal, to significantly control corruption is contributing to a crisis of democracy around the world.
Nepal fell two notches to 124 in 2018 from 122 in 2017 out of 180 countries despite scoring equal points of 31. Denmark and New Zealand top the index with 88 and 87 points, respectively. Somalia, South Sudan, and Syria are at the bottom of the index with 10, 13 and 13 points, respectively. Nepal joins the club of 124th position with Djibouti, Gabon, Kazakhstan and Maldives.
Among the SAARC nations, Bhutan is least corrupt country with 25th position on the CPI, followed by India (78th), Sri Lanka (89th), Pakistan (117th), Maldives (124th), Nepal (124th), Bangladesh (149th) and Afghanistan (172nd).
“With many democratic institutions under threat across the globe – often by leaders with authoritarian or populist tendencies – we need to do more to strengthen checks and balances and protect citizens’ rights,” Patricia Moreira, managing director of Transparency International, said in a press release.
“Corruption chips away at democracy to produce a vicious cycle, where corruption undermines democratic institutions and, in turn, weak institutions are less able to control corruption,” she added.
The 2018 CPI draws on 13 surveys and expert assessments to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). More than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of only 43. Since 2012, only 20 countries have significantly improved their scores, including Estonia and Côte D’Ivoire, and 16 have significantly declined, including, Australia, Chile and Malta.
To make real progress against corruption and strengthen democracy around the world, Transparency International has called on all governments to strengthen the institutions responsible for maintaining checks and balances over political power, and ensure their ability to operate without intimidation; close the implementation gap between anti-corruption legislation, practice and enforcement; and support a free and independent media, and ensure the safety of journalists and their ability to work without intimidation or harassment.
A version of this article appears in print on January 30, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.