Denmark, Copenhagen – Strengthening genuine and effective partnerships is vital to achieving integrity in the Pacific and parliamentarians, youth and civil society organisations need to scale up their work to achieve progress in this area. The Samoa Member of Parliament, HonourableTaefu Lemi made these remarks at the recent 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).

Speaking in the Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC) session along with Vanuatu National Youth Council media officer Deffnie Thompson, Taefu reiterated the importance of building and maintaining effective partnerships.

“The fight against corruption is a fight by all of us, for all of us, and can only succeed when we work together,” said Taefu.

In the same light, Thompson said the youth in Vanuatu and around the Pacific were using a wide range of traditional and new media, along with local village meetings, to communicate their views on stronger integrity and accountability to Members of Parliament.

“Our role as a young citizen doesn’t start and end on election day – we need to be communicating with decision-makers throughout the year on legislation, policies and better procurement and services,” said Thompson.

Three youth and civil society representatives from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu along with a Samoan parliamentarian and Papua New Guinea government official attended the IACC conference supported by the United Nations (UN) Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UNPRAC) Project.

Noting the oversight role that parliamentarians play in implementing the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), Anti-Corruption Specialist for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, Mihaela Stojkoska, who also co-moderated the parliamentary session, highlighted the importance of MPs working with civil society and youth.

“A great example of youths within the anti-corruption space making interventions at various levels is the Pacific Youth Forum Against-Corruption (PYFAC), a network of youth members from 15 Pacific island countries established under the Pacific Youth Council with support of UNPRAC,” said Stojkoska.

She added, “The Network serves as a platform for knowledge exchange, awareness raising and advocacy.”

“As UN-PRAC is implemented the same in most of the Pacific island countries, (PYFAC) has proved an effective partner for local parliaments, such as with Tonga’s Youth Against Corruption and the Tonga Parliamentary Anti-Corruption Standing and GOPAC Committee,” said Stojkoska.

The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is the world’s premier global forum for bringing together heads of state, civil society, the private sector and more to tackle the increasingly sophisticated challenges posed by corruption. Established in 1983, the IACC takes place usually every two years in a different region of the world and hosts around 800 to 2,000 participants from over 135 countries worldwide.

The UN-PRAC Project Phase II is a four-year initiative jointly implemented by UNDP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with funding from the Australian Government. UN-PRAC aims to support Pacific Island countries to strengthen their national integrity systems to promote ‘clean’ governments and create an enabling environment for trade, business, investment and sustainable development to increase in the region.

The 18th IACC builds on the priorities set out in the Panama Declaration. The Conference was held from 22 to 24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark and moved the pledge of “acting together now” to concrete action.

For more information:

Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate, Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji; email: jone.raqauqau@undp.org, tel: (679) 3227 552

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