Pacific Countries Mark 2012 Anti-Corruption Day
Pacific Island Countries Hold a Range of Activities to Mark 2012 Anti-Corruption Day
08 December 2012
[Suva, Fiji - 08 December] Pacific Island Countries have joined others around the globe in holding activities to mark Anti-Corruption Day. Corruption is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that affects all countries. Corruption undermines democratic institutions, slows economic development and contributes to governmental instability.
Government and civil society organisations in some Pacific Island countries have partnered to organise events that raise awareness on corruption, highlight its impact on communities, and ordinary citizens, and outline ways in which citizens and organisations can take a stand against corrupt behavior. Various mediums have been utilized to promote this year’s theme – “Corruption: Your No Counts,” marked on December 9.
Debates involving school children and youth groups on corruption, and panel discussions on the impact of corruption on women, as well as using culture as a weapon against corruption are being organised in Vanuatu by Transparency Vanuatu, as well as the setup of an information booth on corruption in Port Vila town. The Tonga Broadcasting Commission in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Office in Tonga has held radio and television awareness programmes leading up to Anti-corruption Day. Similar programmes are also planned for Kiribati, and Marshall Islands.
In Solomon Islands, Transparency Solomon Islands in partnership with UNDP office in Honiara plan to hold a peaceful march against corruption through Honiara town, followed by awareness raising activities by government and NGO organisations. A panel discussion is also planned in partnership with the University of the South Pacific campus in Honiara.
In Palau, activities planned to mark the day have been postponed to the following weekend due to the recovery work currently in place following the impact of Typhoon Bopha that hit the country the last week. The activities have supported through small grants from the UNDP and UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) specifically made available annually to mark Anti-corruption Day.
Garry Wiseman, the Manager of the UNDP Pacific Centre remarked that, “It is really positive to see the many creative activities being scheduled in some of these countries in the Pacific for Anti-corruption Day, and clearly shows the growing commitment by both governments and civil society organisations to deal with and address the problem of corruption.”
Nine Pacific island countries have now ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), namely Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Cook Islands, and Nauru.
UNCAC is the first comprehensive framework endorsed by the international community, and represents a landmark global consensus on the issue of corruption. Recognizing the cross-border nature of corruption, the Convention binds State parties to cooperate with one another in the investigation and prosecution of offenders. More importantly, countries are bound to cooperate with other state parties in tracing, freezing and confiscation the proceeds of corruption, as well as actually the returning those monies to the originating country.
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, in his message for Anti-corruption day noted that the cost of corruption is measured not just in the billions of dollars of squandered or stolen government resources, but most poignantly in the absence of the hospitals, schools, clean water, roads and bridges that might have been built with that money and would have certainly changed the fortunes of families and communities. He also notes that corruption destroys opportunities and creates rampant inequalities, undermines human rights and good governance, stifles economic growth and distorts markets.