South-South Exchange on Mitigating Integrity Risks in Government Contracts
Without strong institutions there is no sustainable development. Procurement is a crucial instrument for governments to achieve sustainable goals such as quality education, good health, clean water and sound infrastructure.
The South-South Exchange on “Mitigating Integrity Risks in Government Contracts” highlighted the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions as a pre-condition for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The event provided a platform for governments in the region to share knowledge and experiences on different ways to mitigate integrity risks in public procurement.
The event was co-organised by the Comptroller General’s Department of Thailand, the British Embassy, and UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. The conference brought together participants from Thailand, Viet Nam, the Philippines, as well as international experts from South-Korea and UNDP. The participants came from different backgrounds and institutions, in particular planning, procurement and anti-corruption agencies, line ministries and multilateral organisations.
The discussions throughout the conference centred on a variety of topics. For example, on the experience of Thailand in developing a successful public procurement capacity development strategy, the importance of upgrading public procurement systems, on strengthening inter-agency and multi-stakeholder cooperation to prevent corruption, as well as professionalization and capacity building for public officials.
Some of the challenges identified by the participants revolved around issues of recognising the importance of procurement as an official profession, a lack of enforcement of public procurement rules, as well as technological obstacles such as the lack of IT infrastructure or training for government officials.
One of the main takeaways from the South-South Exchange was the ability to understand the importance that integrity in government contract has for country-level development as well as for regional progress and integration in the context of the ASEAN economic community. The willingness and forward-looking attitude of governments in the region is a good indication that anti-corruption efforts and integrity in procurement will be beneficial initiatives conducive to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.