MFAT agrees to AID funding in Pacific for one year

During the past year, TINZ collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to develop a proposal to support TI’s four Pacific chapters (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands) anti-corruption activities. This was in response to an invitation by New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) that suggested a five-year programme to maximise the achievement outcomes. The bid was for upwards of NZ$4.8M over five years. Various versions of the proposal were submitted, the most recent in late June this year. These were developed in conjunction with the Pacific chapters and were designed to strengthen the local integrity systems and enable the chapters to effectively secure reduction in corruption.

MAFT has a long tradition of supporting Transparency International's Pacific chapters; TINZ and UNDP were engaged in order to improve management and accountability for the program.

Unfortunately, MFAT advised TINZ in September that the proposal would not proceed. This is a set-back as real change to the Pacific corruption landscape depends on the anti-corruption initiatives of local grassroots organisations, such as TI’s Pacific chapters. The Pacific chapters were hopeful that MFAT’s NZ Aid funding would provide them with the much needed funding stream. Uncertainty of ongoing funding compromises the anti-corruption activity and the ability to secure a real lasting reduction in corruption.

Pictured above are representatives from Transparency’s Pacific and NZ Chapters and TI Berlin who attended Transparency International’s Membership meeting in Malaysia late August. Past TINZ Patron and recently appointed Transparency Advisory Council member Sir Anand Satyanand also attended (second from right) along with TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively (third front left)

For TINZ, developing the proposal has established and strengthened TINZ’s relationship with the UNDP Pacific Office. The proposal was developed by UNDP’s Pacific group under the leadership of Peter Batchelor. UNDP brought to the proposal its corruption expertise and knowledge of the Pacific, while TINZ drew upon its corruption prevention experience and networks with the Pacific chapters, including Australia.

While MFAT’s decision was not to proceed, it agreed to provide the Pacific chapters with one-off transitional funding for the current year 2015/16. TINZ’s role is as the fund holder with the bulk of the funding to go to the four Pacific chapters. TINZ will receive a very small management fee for its role.

Securing long-term funding is a real challenge for Transparency chapters in the Pacific and in New Zealand. While the level of anti-corruption may differ, constant vigilance and prevention focus is critical. In New Zealand, complacency is the greatest risk to our reputation of being one of the few nearly corrupt-free countries.

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