The scourge of corruption hurts everyone.
In an effort to address the issue, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, United Nations Develop Programme (U.N.D.P.) and the government, started a two-day Integrity Workshop for Senior government officials to discuss the issue in all of its varieties in the public and governmental sectors.
The workshop, which is being held at Hotel Millenia in Apia, is intended to help build further understanding of the UN Convention against corruption, known as U.N.C.A.G.
This convention has by now been ratified by 178 states worldwide.
However, in the Pacific area, there are still states which are expected to sign the convention, including Tonga as well as Samoa. “Our project aims to help 15 Pacific island nations to fight corruption,” said Lizbeth Cullity, UN Resident Coordinator and U.N.D.P. Resident Representative at the workshop’s launch.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi delivered the keynote address. Ms. Cullity said the training will encourage people in authority to “get more involved and demand transparency and integrity in government programmes.”
To achieve these aims, there will also be enough time for the workshop’s participants, who come from all different governmental branches, to discuss the issue and stress how important a banishment of any kind of corruption is for Samoa as an individual country.
Therefore, the training program will include different presentations which aim to address the various forms of corruption, for instance by demonstrating ways of Anti Money Laundering or discussing the role of existing governance mechanisms in Samoa in particular to prevent corruption and promote integrity.
“All the experience is showing that when public servants are consulting with the community, you get better decisions being made,” said John Hyde, who takes part in the workshop as UN’s Pacific Regional Anti-corruption Project Consultant. “The more transparency there is, the more accountability you get in the end. Despite of that, this can also have a big impact on the budget.”
The workshop, which was also held the year before, already exhibits progress that has been achieved so far. “We’ve done a lot of engagement with young people in Samoa and the civil society [in general]. There was also a big involvement with an induction programme with the new Members of Parliament.”
Concerning the yet to be ratified Convention by Samoa, Mr. Hyde seemed confident that the overall outcome of this year’s workshop for senior government officials will make some progress in that area as well.
“Samoa remains one of only three Pacific countries which have yet to sign the UN convention against corruption, and we’re hoping that through more cooperative work with the government and Parliament, with local society and with the media as well, we can get Samoa moving towards looking closer at this excellent convention.”