Solomon Islands - Thirty-six local civil society leaders and Government officials met in the capital, Honiara on Monday to learn about transparency and accountability, as well as the Government’s efforts to prevent and fight corruption. The Government is seeking to roll-out anti-corruption reforms including the Anti-Corruption Bill and Whistleblowers Protection Bill.
Supported by the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, the anti-corruption workshop is spearheaded by the Development Services Exchange (DSE) along with other local NGOs. These include Transparency Solomon Islands, women’s CSOs, faith-based and youth organizations, including the University of the South Pacific Students’ Association.
In opening the workshop, Head of the Law Reform Commission, Frank Paulsen spoke on the effects of corruption and how civil society, together with the Government, is an important stakeholder in this fight.
“Through collective responsibility and with the Government at the forefront, we can take this implementation of the [UN] Convention [against Corruption] very seriously including the participation of everyone. Civil society is a very important stakeholder and your presence is very important. You represent not only your organizations, but also other Solomon Islanders,” said Mr. Paulsen. He added, “We have a duty to ensure that our children will inherit a country that can deal competently with corruption”.
UN-PRAC has been running a number of anti-corruption workshops for civil society organizations (CSOs) in 10 Pacific Island countries, including Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu this year.
“Civil society and individual community members have a key role in preventing and fighting corruption by becoming more active in transparency and accountability processes,” said Ms. Annika Wythes, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser, UN-PRAC Project.
“Through this workshop, we hope to assist CSO leaders by raising their levels of awareness and understanding of corruption. This includes CSOs holding their leaders to account, and also to build networks and coalitions against corruption. We hope that the Anti-Corruption Bill will be tabled in Parliament and civil society needs to play a bigger role in supporting this process,” said Lily Chekana of DSE.
Participants also had the opportunity to discuss the Government’s Anti-Corruption Bill and explore areas that they wish the Government to include in a potential National Anti-Corruption Strategy going forwards.
The Australian Government is supporting the UN-PRAC Project, a four-year US$4.3m project in the 15 Pacific nations being implemented by UNODC and UNDP.
Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: (679) 3227 504; email: firstname.lastname@example.org