Suva, Fiji – A new partnership between the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the United Nations in the Pacific, underscores the important role education plays in the fight against corruption and in the promotion of good governance, transparency and accountability.

The partnership is established through the design and implementation of a new 200 level anti-corruption course which will be delivered under the Faculty of Business and Economics through the School of Government, Development and International Affairs.

Implemented through the United Nations Anti-Corruption Project (UNPRAC), a joint initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the new Diploma Programme in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights complements the mandatory Ethics unit currently offered by USP.

The UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) to Fiji and 9 other Pacific Island Countries emphasized how corruption can hinder development aspirations of countries which negatively increases the impacts on the most vulnerable.

“As a response to the negative impact of corruption on people and development worldwide, one of the most effective ways to fight corruption and promote elements of good governance, transparency and accountability is education”, said UNRC Sanaka Samrasinha.   

“The course once fully designed will be delivered through the Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights program and will equip students - Pacific leaders of tomorrow - to be champions of anti-corruption in their respective fields.

Mr. Samrasinha also highlighted the strategic importance of USP in supporting the Pacific Regional Education Framework which promotes a human rights approach to education and seeks to empower Pacific Islanders fully enjoy, without barriers, the benefits of education

“UN-PRAC’s partnership with USP through the designing and implementation of the anti-corruption course delivered through the Diploma in Leadership, Governance and Human Rights program will equip students who will be Pacific leaders of tomorrow to be champions of anti-corruption in their respective fields.

Youth has been one of the main focus social groups for UN-PRAC throughout its work and this initiative builds on strong civic education and youth networking activities implemented throughout the years.

We also recognise USP’s contributions as the premier institution of higher learning for the Pacific region, uniquely placed in a region of extraordinary physical, social and economic diversity”, said Mr. Samrasinha.

The USP Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia who also officiated at the announcement, stressed the value of effective partnerships in fighting corruption.

Corruption, Professor Ahluwalia claims, is a threat for both the public and private sectors across different countries in the Pacific and there needs to be zero tolerance for such practices.  It is essential that Governments, Universities and the Private sector work together to eradicate corruption and fraud.

“Therefore, as one of concrete steps to tackling corruption, the anti-corruption course set to commence in January 2020, will integrate an inter-disciplinary approach highlighting the need to tackle corruption from all angles”, said Professor Ahluwalia

“We envisage the course to strike a balance between theory and practice with a focus on practical examples from the region as well as from global practice on how corrupt incidences can be prevented from re-occurring.

Prevention, Professor Ahluwalia said, is always better than the cure.”

Currently, 13 Pacific Island Countries (PICs) are State Parties to the UNCAC which PNG, Fiji, Palau, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, FSM, Nauru, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue and Samoa.

Previously, UN-PRAC’s work with USP has been primarily around promoting elements of good governance, codes of conduct and anti-corruption initiatives with the USP Student Association (USPSA).

In 2017, UN-PRAC conducted a training on anti-corruption with USPSA members and in 2018 UN-PRAC worked with the Pacific Youth Council, Pacific Youth Forum Against Corruption and USPSA Laucala Campus to organise an event for International Youth Day, themed “Advocating Anti-Corruption by Promoting Safe Spaces for Pacific Youths”.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mr Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance Team, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. Email: jone.raqauqau@undp.org – Phone: (679) 3227 552

Mr. Sushil Patel, UNV Communication Specialist, UN Resident Coordinators Office, Fiji.  - Email: sushil.patel@one.un.org - Phone: (679) 9982428 or 3312500 

Ms. Ana Tamani, Media and Public Relations Coordinator, the University of the South Pacific, Laucala Campus, Fiji. Email: ana.tamani@usp.ac.fj – Phone: (679) 323 2039

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