By RNZ Pacific’s Christina Persico
Transparency International says the latest Corruption Perception Index shows another year of “little to no meaningful progress” towards curbing corruption in the Asia-Pacific region.
Transparency International has released its 2023 report, based on a points system, and Denmark, Finland and New Zealand top the list.
Other than New Zealand and Australia, Fiji is the highest-ranked Pacific country, coming in 53rd.
Fiji has 53 points out of a possible 100.
Vanuatu is 61st (48 points) and Solomon Islands 70th (43 points).
Then it is a drop to Papua New Guinea in 133rd with 29 points.
Transparency International said the Asia-Pacific region showed long-term stagnation, although some countries historically at the top were backsliding.
‘Steady influx of . . . incentives’
“While there’s a steady influx of economic, military or financial incentives to support development and climate goals, many Pacific countries have weak governance systems — which some donors overlook, exposing these substantial investments to high risk of corruption,” the organisation reported.
Transparency International said a 2020 survey in Asia showed that nearly one in seven people had been offered bribes in exchange for votes in a national, regional or local election in the past five years.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific region in 2021, approximately a quarter of respondents reported being offered a bribe for their votes.
“These findings show the serious implications for the ability of elections to bring in governments that can be trusted to control and curb corruption effectively.”
But the organisation said at the regional level, Pacific leaders continued to demonstrate some commitment to the fight against corruption, with the gradual implementation of the Teieniwa Vision — a set of collective anti-corruption priorities.
These were endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum leaders in 2021.
“Progress has been slow and there has been limited involvement of regional civil society organisations around this initiative.
“ASEAN leaders should also continue to find common mechanisms to review their anti-corruption commitments under the ASEAN Political-Security Community Blueprint 2025, a ten-year plan aimed at instilling a culture of integrity and anti-corruption in the region.”
They should also continue strengthening their national and regional anti-corruption frameworks, and increasing joint efforts to address grand corruption, Transparency International said.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.