Thursday, December 09, 2010

Corruption: Government of Australia on corruption in Indonesia, Philippines

Source: Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID); Government of Australia

Corruption remains one of the main barriers to achieving poverty reduction, economic growth, human security, political stability and social development. The World Bank estimates that developing countries lose US$20 billion to US$40 billion a year through corrupt acts—a figure equivalent to 20 to 40 per cent of official development assistance (ODA).

Australia is committed to addressing corruption through its overseas aid program. We work closely with partner governments to support their efforts to tackle corruption and improve transparency and accountability.

In Indonesia, Australia is helping to strengthen the integrity of the judicial system by supporting efforts to make court decisions more accessible to the public since 2008 over 18,000 new decisions have been made available online.

In the Philippines, Australia is supporting the Bantay Eskuwela School Watch Project, which has helped train over 600 community members to track government spending in the education sector. Parents, teachers, students and community representatives are now able to hold the government to account by monitoring provincial government decision-making and expenditure on education.

Australia also works with regional and international partners and policy initiatives to directly shape and support the international anti-corruption agenda. Transparency International (TI) is one of AusAID's international partners on anti-corruption.

Since 2006, AusAID has contributed over A$4 million in support of TIs work in the Asia-Pacific, with a focus on strengthening the operations of TIs National Chapters. This work is helping citizens across the region to combat corruption through locally driven advocacy campaigns and other education and awareness-raising activities.

Pascal Fabie, Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Transparency International, said that with the rapid rise of leading Asian economies and the deepening of global inter-dependence, the negative effects of corruption in the public and private sector are increasingly spilling beyond national borders.

"This clearly indicates an urgent need to strengthen good governance both within and across borders," said Mr Fabie.

Mr Fabie highlighted the strategic partnership framework signed between Transparency International and AusAID.

"It is proving to be an effective way of developing and introducing civil society anti-corruption programmes that can make a difference, in a region where tackling corruption remains a significant challenge and priority," said Mr Fabie.

At the regional level, Australia is also supporting dialogue among our Pacific neighbours on how to strengthen efforts to tackle corruption. In July 2010, AusAID funded an awareness-raising workshop on the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Samoa, which was jointly hosted by the UN Development Program and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The workshop was attended by government representatives from across the Pacific, with discussions centred on UNCAC ratification and implementation in the Pacific―currently the region with the lowest number of ratifications in the world.

Australia is supporting global efforts to tackle corruption in the use of natural resources, including as a supporting member country of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. This Initiative is a coalition of governments, companies, civil society groups and investors focused on improving governance and transparency in resource rich countries around the world. The Australian aid program supports this important work because a well-governed extractives sector contributes to stability, economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in developing countries.