Tonga Parliament aim to boost anti-corruption efforts

May 13, 2015

Participants with Australia's High Commissioner to Tonga, HE Mr Brett Aldam and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Lord Tu'ivakano (Photo: Hortensie Ngalu/UNDP).

Nukuʻalofa, Tonga – Parliamentarians in Tonga begin a two-day workshop today to build their capacity to advance good governance and boost anti-corruption efforts.

Tonga is one of the five remaining Pacific nations yet to sign onto the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), and the two-day workshop under the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project is working with Tonga’s Parliamentarians to strengthen their understanding of UNCAC and parliamentary oversight.

The workshop is a partnership between the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), together with the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC)) and the Parliament of Tonga assisting in this workshop.

“One of the aims of the UN-PRAC Project is to strengthen the capacity of Pacific Island countries to prevent and fight corruption through the UNCAC framework,” said Annika Wythes, Anti-Corruption Adviser - Pacific, UNODC.

“UNDP and UNODC continue to promote sustainable human development, and corruption remains a major barrier in the Pacific to achieving this goal.”

Lord Tu'ivakano, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, welcomed the opportunity for Tonga’s Parliamentarians to build on their knowledge of anti-corruption.

“As lawmakers, we must recognize the importance of combatting corruption. Our support towards the enactment of good governance legislation aimed at fighting corruption is a priority as such would be instrumental in stamping out corrupt practices and upholding the rule of law that should underpin our democratic society,” said Lord Tu'ivakano.

GOPAC Oceania Chair, John Hyde said that Parliamentarians are a key entry point to addressing reforms being promoted under UNCAC, the universally accepted anti-corruption framework.

“Parliamentarians have been prominent in the development of national anti-corruption policies and coordinating committees; strengthening of existing institutions and advocating freedom of information, open government initiatives and anti-money laundering,” said Mr Hyde.

"Corruption must be vigorously addressed so that governance institutions in Tonga can equitably and transparently serve citizens," said Douglas Armour, Manager of UNDP’s Tonga Governance Strengthening Programme (TGSP). TGSP is also providing support to this two-day workshop.

The UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project, is a four-year joint initiative of UNDP and UNODC, with funding from the Australian Government.

About the UN Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project

The joint UNDP-UNODC project aims to help Pacific Island countries and territories fight corruption by supporting: i) ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC); ii) UNCAC implementation through the strengthening of policies, laws, measures and institutional frameworks; and iii) engagement in the UNCAC processes, including the Implementation Review Mechanism. The Project draws on the strong global partnership and comparative advantages of both organizations in the fight against corruption.

Contact information

In Tonga: Douglas Armour. Tonga Governance Strengthening Programme, Manager, tel: (+676) 881 2500 or email: douglas.armour@undp.org

In Fiji: Sheryl Ho, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 322-7504(679) 322-7504 or email: sheryl.ho@undp.org

 

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