Corruption in the Pacific: no change in perceptions in 2020

An article recently published by Mariam Mathew, Pacific Regional Advisor at Transparency International, highlights the unchanged perception of Pacific corruption in the 2020 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). 

Because of the limited data on governance available for the Pacific region, only three Pacific countries are included in the CPI: Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands. 

She notes:

“Pacific governments and other key stakeholders need to work with key institutions that collect such data so that more Pacific countries can be included. The more a country appears in various data sources that monitor different aspects of governance, the clearer the picture of corruption will be in that country.”

A component of our South Pacific Outreach Project is working with CLCT Integrity Fiji to have Fiji included in more CPI data sources in order to be included in future CPIs.

Despite low and stagnant scores of these three Pacific Island countries included in the CPI, some bright spots exist where they have made substantial gains in building integrity.

The article continues, “PNG, after decades of tireless efforts from civil society groups, celebrated a victory in 2020 when legislation was passed to establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission. In Solomon Islands, the country appointed its first ever Director General to the national Anti-Corruption Commission. The priority now is recruiting and training staff to get the commission functioning. Vanuatu has held key high-profile political figures to account in the justice system with corruption charges.

The message from the 2020 CPI is that these successes will need to be sustained and supported for years to come before perceptions of corruption begin to improve.

Civil society actors and allies across these three Pacific countries in the index, spent much of 2020 calling upon their governments to improve transparency and accountability in their responses to COVID-19. However, civil society engagement has not always been welcome in all Pacific countries. Press freedom has also been a long-running concern.”

Read the complete article in the DevpolocyBlog published by the Australian National University College of Asia & the Pacific.

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