Honorable Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Manasseh Sogavare
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Mr. Henry Puna Distinguished media representatives
Ladies and gentlemen
Warm greetings from Suva and a heartfelt welcome to all participants joining this important media event both in person and online from across the Pacific.
UNDP is delighted to have embarked on a very important partnership with the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the Pacific Anti-Corruption Journalists Network (PACJN) on stepping up the media role in efforts to combat corruption in the Pacific region.
This partnership, implemented in 14 Pacific countries through the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project (UN-PRAC) together with our colleagues from UNODC, is a continuation of the long-term cooperation with PINA on building the capacity of Pacific media in promoting integrity and public accountability in the Pacific.
We are particularly thankful to Solomon Islands for hosting the event, through the lead of the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) as a very important partner in the fight against corruption in the Solomon Islands.
As a UN development agency, our focus is the impact of corruption on the development of the Pacific and its related manifestations through weakened institutions, inequitable service delivery, distorted markets and eroded quality of life. For all these detrimental effects, corruption is setting back the overall efforts at achievement of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Tackling corruption needs a whole-of-society commitment and Pacific media have a key role to identify priorities, highlight gaps and support evidence-based solutions. Local media can contribute to ensuring that the Sustainable Development Goals governance commitments are on track to the benefit of Pacific citizens and societies at large.
In this context, the media plays a critical role not only as gatekeepers to monitor the quality of governance and demand accountability, but also in articulating the problem of corruption as a development problem and exploring solutions. By providing informed analysis and framing the discussion around its impact on society, media can indeed inspire reforms and influence policy-making and legislative reform.
UNDP highly values this power of the media in the fight against corruption and appreciates the efforts of the media across the Pacific to fully utilize their potentials to demand accountability and transparency from the public and private sectors in the Pacific.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank PINA, MASI and all dedicated journalists from the Pacific who are at the forefront of these media efforts and are determined to contribute to making progress against the international and regional anti-corruption commitments of the Pacific, including specifically the ‘Teieniwa’ Vision of Pacific Unity against Corruption adopted by 18 Pacific Islands Forum Leaders as the regional roadmap at the Leaders Forum in February 2021.
UNDP Pacific Office remains committed to continue supporting the Pacific Island Countries at regional and national levels to advance the anti-corruption agenda including through the complementary anti-corruption policy and institutional efforts by our UNDP Office in Solomon Islands where this important event is hosted.
I thank you all of you for your commitment to make this collective action a success and I wish you a successful event.