Denmark, Copenhagen – Given the fact that 60 percent of Pacific people are youth, involving young people in the fight against corruption is essential, says a Solomon Islands youth representative at the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).
Speaking on the topic ‘Why Youth Matters: Young People in the Fight Against Corruption’ session in Copenhagen, Denmark, Philip Manakako, encouraged youths and youth groups to continue anti-corruption efforts within their own spaces.
“The fight against corruption is like building a canoe: it’s for the benefit of the whole community, so the whole community needs to participate in building it. Elderly and children, men and women, boys and girls”, said Manakako.
“Although the challenge is big, we believe that if youth keep doing our work within our networks, it will multiply and become powerful and we can connect many dots to shine lights into corruption in our region.”
Three youth and civil society representatives from Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu along with a Samoan parliamentarian and Papua New Guinea government official are attending the conference supported by the United Nations (UN) Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UNPRAC) Project.
Noting the various interventions and importance of non-state actors in the national anti-corruption discourse, Anti-Corruption Specialist for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, Mihaela Stojkoska, highlighted the importance of the Pacific representatives at the premier global anti-corruption event.
“Due to the strength of non-state actors in the Pacific, it was important that UN-PRAC supported civil society, media, government and parliamentary representatives to tell their local stories and take back good practices to share with their stakeholders and colleagues in the Pacific anti-corruption community,” said Stojkoska.
She added, “Pacific youth are making a real impact in holding governments to account and advocating for meaningful legislation such as Freedom of Information and Whistleblowing protection.”
The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) is the world’s premier global forum for bringing together heads of state, civil society, the private sector and more to tackle the increasingly sophisticated challenges posed by corruption. Established in 1983, the IACC usually takes place every two years in a different region of the world and hosts around 800 to 2,000 participants from over 135 countries worldwide.
The UN-PRAC Project Phase II is a four-year initiative jointly implemented by UNDP and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with funding from the Australian Government. UN-PRAC aims to support Pacific island countries to strengthen their national integrity systems to promote ‘clean’ governments and create an enabling environment for trade, business, investment and sustainable development to increase in the region.
The 18th IACC builds on the priorities set out in the Panama Declaration. The two-day Conference, which ends on 24 October will move the pledge of “acting together now” to concrete action.
This article was originally published on the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji website.