Strong Legal Actions and Commitment from Government needed to Tackle Corruption
12 June, Kathmandu- Increased level of public awareness, stopping political protection and identifying strong legal actions were some key recommended measures to reduce corruption in Nepal, during a panel discussion organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the launch of the Asia Pacific Human Development Report on Corruption today.
One of the Regional report's key message is that, Governments and citizens across the Asia-Pacific can tackle corruption together by focussing on areas which impact daily life such as health, education, the police and natural resources.
Launching the report, Honourable Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel stated, 'deeper democratic exercises are needed to tackle corruption and there needs to be more focus on building stronger institutions to strengthen the rule of law rather than only talking about penalizing the defaulters. There also needs to be stronger actions taken to curb cross-border corruption.'
A panel consisting of political parties, Government, Media, Civil Society, Private Sector and youth identified that, lack of coordination between different organisations working in anti-corruption, lack of follow-up and support from the State, lack of strong leadership, lack of transparent mechanisms, a weak judiciary, a culture of promoting impunity, the absence of the rule of law and the lack of implementation of existing laws, international treaties and conventions are key problems for rising corruption in Nepal.
On the occasion, UNDP Resident Representative Robert Piper said, 'Nepal's electors and Nepal's elected seem to have a healthy appetite at this historic time, for far-reaching political and social transformation-nothing less will be required to successfully address the pernicious issue of corruption.' He further added,' Corruption hits the poorest hardest and it acts as a significant brake on the prospects for human development.'
The panelists highlighted that in society, corruption takes many forms and originates from many actors at all levels, starting from petty corruption which affects the poorest in particular in the access to essential basic services upto policy corruption. The panel discussed that while civil society needed to remain vigilant at all times, the media should keep reporting and informing the public of the reality. At the same time, the youth focussed on the need to raise awareness about corruption in the public in a much stronger fashion and for a real coordinated effort from all sectors.
Senior Vice President of FNCCI, Mr. Suraj Vaidya stated that 'the private sector also does not remain unaffected from corruption. In fact, doing business is extremely difficult in Nepal as nothing moves without offering bribes. Corruption has been ingrained in our culture and in all professions.' He further stated that the private sector is ready to join hands with the State to curb corruption as it cannot work alone.
The discussion ended with a strong recognition and recommendation that crushing Corruption can only happen if the top leaders of the country proactively drive the agenda and action needs to start right away.
Other key messages from the report are:
- It is the poor who bear the heaviest burden of corruption
- Curbing corruption can boost political stability and economic growth
- There are success stories from the region that prove it is possible for Asia-Pacific countries to reverse the scourge of corruption.
- Global actors including companies, consumers and development organisations mush share the responsibility of fighting corruption
- Within countries, governments' institutional reform can join with the independent monitoring power of media and civil society which would combine effective leadership from able and with pressure from below.
Note to the Editor: The Asia Pacific Human Development Report (APHDR) is an important resource and instrument to explore critical development concerns. The Report thus informs policies from a human development perspective, putting people at the centre of development debates. The Report comes on the heels of the landmark Second Session of the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Bali, Indonesia, which is aiding countries in the implementation of their anti-corruption efforts. The UNCAC is the first legally binding, international anti-corruption instrument that provides a unique opportunity to mount a global response to a global problem. This Regional Human Development Report examines the problem of corruption from the perspectives of the countries of Asia and the Pacific. In doing so, it builds on the agenda for change. This publication is also timely'this is the halfway mark in the timetable for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, and it addresses corruption surrounding the exploitation of natural resources, at a time when concerns about climate change are reaching a peak in this most dynamic region of the world.
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