Samoa’s senior government officials are working with the U.N. in a two-day workshop to analyse where Samoa is already complying with best practices in the U.N.C.A.C. (United Nations Convention Against Corruption) and to identify challenges still needed to be addressed to boost integrity in the public service.
Enhancing integrity and good governance is a key phenomenon in two of the most important national strategic documents: the Public Administration Sector Plan and the Strategy for the Development of Samoa.
This is a clear demonstration of Samoa’s commitment to combating illegal practices and ensuring application of relevant integrity standards across the public sector.
Over the last year the United Nations has worked closely with the Government and other non – governmental actors through the U.N. Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (U.N.-P.R.A.C.) Project. Back in February, the U.N.-P.R.A.C. Team undertook workshops targeting youth and civil society organizations mainly aimed at raising awareness on the U.N. Convention Against Corruption.
Later in April, at the Induction for the new Members of Parliament, the team also delivered a presentation on how fighting corruption and crime is key to building more inclusive and just societies, in line with Sustainable Development Goal number 16.
To maintain the momentum, U.N.-P.R.A.C. in partnership with the Office of the Public Service Commission, organised an “Integrity Workshop for Senior Government Officials”.
The activity, held on Monday and Tuesday at the Millenia Hotel, brought together more than thirty representatives from Government Ministries.
The workshop sought to improve the understanding of participants about the U.N. Convention Against Corruption, overviewing the existing integrity mechanisms and also stimulating the adoption of measures aimed at delivering public services more efficiently.
During the sessions, the facilitators shared good practices in the Pacific Region and also highlighted the assistance available to Samoa in the implementation of the U.N.C.A.C. Discussions were mainly focused on the identification of reform priorities and the oversight role that non-governmental stakeholders could play.
In his keynote address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said: “Integrity takes courage. It's commitment to doing what is right, no matter how difficult and challenging.
Our principles of good governance depend on our integrity and being transparent and accountable is an important part of our public service.”
At the opening ceremony, Lizbeth Cullity - United Nations Resident Coordinator - highlighted the importance of promoting integrity practices as a key strategy to achieving sustainable development.
“Eliminating corruption is imperative to achieving the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals.
It is well documented that corruption undermines development by weakening good governance, slowing economic growth and affecting negatively the delivery of public services.”
She added: "The U.N. system will continue working very closely with the Samoan Government and other partners for the implementation of sustainable and effective anti-corruption measures.”
U.N.-P.R.A.C. Anti-Corruption Consultant John Hyde said: “Senior Government Officials are showing a commitment in the workshop to embrace more meaningful community consultation and accountability for their actions.”
The U.N.-Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project aims at supporting 15 Pacific island countries (P.I.C.s) to strengthen their capacity to address corruption and provide better services by ensuring a more effective and transparent use of national resources.
This four-year project, funded by the Australian Government, is jointly implemented by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (U.N.O.D.C.) and the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.).