Pacific Island Countries join efforts to demonstrate “Zero Corruption, 100% Development”
Suva, Fiji – Countries around the Pacific held a range of activities today to raise awareness on the importance of fighting corruption and the role various stakeholders play in this.
To mark International Anti-Corruption Day, the United Nations supported Pacific Island Countries to undertake activities that reflect this year’s theme, “Zero Corruption, 100% Development”. In Fiji, a youth network to fight corruption is being launched by Transparency International. In Solomon Islands, a walk against corruption has been organized. In Kiribati, Vanuatu, Tonga and Tuvalu, media campaigns, including talk back shows, are being held.
Manager of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre, Dr Peter Batchelor, said “Corruption remains one of the most significant barriers to reducing poverty, both in the Pacific and globally. International Anti-Corruption Day provides an important opportunity for raising awareness and building commitment to fight corruption, and the growing commitment to anti-corruption in the region is to be commended,” he said.
Ten Pacific Island countries are parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Last month, representatives from all ten countries – Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – attended the fifth session of the Conference of the States Parties to UNCAC in Panama. Their participation was supported by the joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC). Throughout the Conference, the Pacific delegates were able to express the importance of anti-corruption in their country context and highlight their national actions to fight corruption. Delegates from the ten Pacific Island Countries were also able to learn from the experiences and lessons in fighting corruption from over 130 countries present at the Conference.
In his message for International Anti-Corruption Day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “Corruption suppresses economic growth by driving up costs, and undermines the sustainable management of the environment and natural resources. It breaches fundamental human rights, exacerbates poverty and increases inequality by diverting funds from health care, education and other essential services. The malignant effects of corruption are felt by billions of people everywhere. It is driven by and results in criminal activity, malfunctioning state institutions and weak governance”.
“On this International Anti-Corruption Day, I urge Governments, the private sector and civil society to take a collective stand against this complex social, political and economic disease that affects all countries. To achieve an equitable, inclusive and more prosperous future for all, we must foster a culture of integrity, transparency, accountability and good governance,” he said.