[Suva, Fiji 7 August 2013] The impact of corruption and the challenge of fighting corruption are well known to citizens and observers of the Pacific.
In recognizing the importance of fighting corruption, the United Nations has commenced a 4 year USD4.3 million Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project.
The Project, funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), is being jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The UNDP-UNODC Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project helps Pacific Island Countries fight corruption by supporting the ratification and implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption.
The Project builds on recent progress by Pacific governments to address corruption, with nine countries in the region – Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu now having ratified the Convention.
The Project is raising awareness and increasing understanding among political leaders across the region on international anti-corruption standards, including the requirements of the UN Convention.
The Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project is also working with communities and the private sector to actively engage in the fight against corruption.
UNDP-UNODC support is also assisting Pacific Island governments to identify and implement reforms including developing and enhancing their anti-corruption policies, laws and institutions.
The joint UNDP-UNODC Project encompasses anti-corruption efforts in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The incoming Manager of the UNDP Pacific Centre, Peter Batchelor said, “Corruption continues to be one of the most significant barriers to poverty reduction and sustainable development both in the Pacific and around the world. This Project is designed to respond to the unique needs and challenges of fighting corruption in Small Island Developing States of the Pacific, drawing on international lessons and experiences”.
Jeremy Douglas, UNODC’s Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific said, “Corruption is a global phenomenon, and international experience highlights the need for having dedicated resources and expertise to address this multi-faceted challenge. This partnership brings together for the first time in the Pacific the combined capacity of UNODC and UNDP, to help Pacific Island Countries fight corruption for the longer-term benefit of their people”.
166 countries plus the European Union have now become States parties to the UN Convention against Corruption.