High-Level Engagement to Advance Anti-Corruption in the Pacific

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9 December 2021, Suva, Fiji. Senior representatives from central banks, financial intelligence units, corporate regulators and other integrity institutions committed to advancing the anti-corruption and anti-money laundering agenda in the Pacific, engaged in a high-level dialogue this week to share their experiences.

The knowledge programme was offered through the Pacific Anti-Corruption Project, funded by the UK government, as part of the UN Development Programme (UNDP)’s anti-corruption efforts.

The master-level anti-corruption knowledge sharing programme has further refined its shape and structure based on a series of regional and country-based consultations and dialogues since August 2021.

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The programme offers needs-based policy and legislative advisory services, structured training support and direct mentoring to all 14 Pacific Island Countries covered by the Pacific Anti-Corruption Project, which include: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau,Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Today’s virtual knowledge exchange session gathered representatives from institutions in the PICs to exchange experiences and views on ‘Intelligence-Led Financial Disruption of Corruption” and learn from international experts as well. The approach aims to gather relevant information on the corruption offences and convert the information into useful intelligence by relevant agencies to identify facilitators of corruption.

The event also symbolically commemorated the 2021 International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December which seeks to highlight the rights and responsibilities of everyone in tackling corruption including States, Government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, and academia, the public and youth.

During the event, the importance of sub-regional and regional knowledge-sharing for improved anti-corruption results in the Pacific was acknowledged.

This master-level knowledge exchange programme is strongly anchored on the values and principles of the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Teieniwa Pacific Unity against Corruption Vision, endorsed by 18 Pacific Islands Forum leaders in February 2021.

British High Commissioner to Samoa said, “The UK is pleased to be supporting this important work as part of our wider programme to strengthen anticorruption across the Pacific. I encourage all professionals who participate in the knowledge programme to capitalise on the opportunities for sub-regional and regional peer-to-peer exchanges and learning. Strengthening anticorruption, transparency and accountability will bring about real benefits for the people in the Pacific” Mr Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji emphasized that the aim is to specifically support institutions, systems, and mechanisms to be able to better prevent and tackle corruption.

“To achieve the goal, this programme offers tailor-made specialized knowledge-sharing opportunities for the Pacific national institutions to strengthen their capacities to combat corruption and improve implementation of the Agenda 2030 and SDGs, with focus on SDG 16 targets,” said Mr Bouadze.

At the end of the initial stage of the programme, which now spans until March 2022, the programme will have developed tailored manuals and guidelines based on specific needs of agencies. These products are designed to enhance the knowledge and skills for better detection, prosecution and adjudication of anti-corruption and combatting financial crimes in the Pacific. Throughout the project, practitioners are continuously being engaged in dialogue with a team of experts and facilitators on country-specific approaches to address specific knowledge and capacity needs.