COVID-19 and corruption in the Pacific

Anti-corruption advisory for the Pacific region

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(UN-PRAC) – Adopting comprehensive auditing, oversight, accountability and reporting mechanisms to monitor the disbursement process is one of the key recommendations to prevent corruption in the Pacific during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, according to a new advisory note from the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project.

The advisory note: “COVID-19 and Corruption in the Pacific” also addresses updating public procurement systems to handle all disasters, collaborating with the private sector to promote business integrity, along with providing clear objectives and transparent criteria for the qualification of beneficiaries and recipients of COVID-19 funds.

“We recommend a whole-of-society approach to ensure the best possible impact of COVID-19 funding, so UN-PRAC’s advisory note on corruption risks in the Pacific makes key recommendations for Pacific Governments in cooperation with non-State actors,” said Regional Anti-Corruption Adviser-Pacific for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Annika Wythes.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji Effective Governance Team Leader, Revai Makanje Aalbaek, highlighted that COVID-19 brings significant implications for Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the universal commitment in the 2030 Agenda to ‘leave no one behind’. SDG 16 is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for all, and Anti-corruption is one of the building blocks of SDG 16.

“With this advisory note, we are aiming to help countries in the Pacific respond comprehensively, equitably and inclusively to the COVID-19 crisis in ways to ensure progress in achieving the SDGs and SDG16, as a key enabler and entry point to deliver on Agenda 2030,” said Aalbaek.

She added, “It is therefore crucial to continue and even reinforce anti-corruption efforts in the Pacific region. Strong, transparent and accountable institutions are more than ever needed to safeguard governance principles during the swift injections of necessary financial and technical support to address the COVID-19 crisis. While supporting countries to respond to the immediate needs, it is imperative that we keep an eye on the long-term development agenda .”

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