HK ICAC leaves no one behind on the path to a corruption-free world

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Editor’s note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights into the events shaping the world today. Simon Peh Yun-lu is the Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) and the President of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA). The article reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The fight against corruption is never a race between jurisdictions, nor a simple task that can be accomplished by an anti-corruption agency alone. In the era of globalization and the digital age, international cooperation is what keeps us going. It is with this belief in mind that the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has sincerely shared its anti-corruption experience with the world.

Created in 1974, the ICAC tackles corruption with a unique formula, combining law enforcement, prevention and education. This holistic strategy succeeded in transforming Hong Kong from a city plagued by corruption in the 1960s and 1970s into one of the cleanest places in the world.

According to the Corruption Perceptions Index released in January 2022 by international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, the Hong Kong SAR was ranked 12th out of 180 countries/territories surveyed and second in Asia. . In fact, it goes beyond perceptions. A culture of probity is embedded in the local community, as the ICAC’s annual opinion survey has consistently found the community to be highly intolerant of corruption and almost all respondents have not personally experienced corruption. corruption in the past 12 months.

The Hong Kong SAR has come a long way in the fight against corruption. Humbled by our past, the ICAC is always ready to share its experience with its foreign counterparts. Over the years, the ICAC has regularly organized international anti-corruption conferences and training programs, receiving more than 3,000 officials from anti-corruption agencies (ACAs) and international organizations each year. from different jurisdictions to exchange anti-corruption experiences.

The ICAC regularly organizes symposia to promote the international exchange of anti-graft experiences. The photo was taken at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on May 24, 2019. /ICAC

The ICAC regularly organizes symposia to promote the international exchange of anti-graft experiences. The photo was taken at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on May 24, 2019. /ICAC

The ICAC is also designated by the Chinese central government as the authority responsible for assisting other signatories to the United Nations Convention against Corruption to build their anti-corruption capabilities. It is therefore our international obligation to help ACAs develop their full capacity to fight the crime of corruption.

We actively offered tailor-made capacity building programs to our counterparts, taking into account their cultural, political and legal differences. Since 2017, the ICAC has established links with more than 60 ACAs of countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative for capacity building collaboration, and conducted more than 30 training programs for more of 1,000 corruption fighters from other ACAs. Despite the huge impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICAC has continued its capacity building initiatives by moving to the digital platform. Over the past 18 months, 19 online training programs have been delivered to approximately 650 corruption fighters from foreign jurisdictions.

Over the years, we have noticed that despite their passion and aspirations, corruption fighters often face various constraints, among others, limited resources, the inability of ACAs to operate independently as well as a culture and a deeply rooted tolerance of corruption in society. While it will be up to individual jurisdictions to make institutional changes in their countries, the ICAC nevertheless hopes to be able to shed light on the way to eliminating the crime of corruption.

Earlier this year, the ICAC assumed a new role in the global fight against corruption. With the approval and full support of the Chinese central government and the Hong Kong SAR government, I am deeply honored to have been elected President of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) and to have the opportunity to further contribute to the global fight against corruption. front.

The IAACA was founded in 2006 as the premier global institution for ACAs worldwide, aimed at promoting the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and fostering international collaboration against corruption. The then attorney general of China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate, Cao Jianming, served as the founding chairman of the IAACA for the first 10 years.

Since my assumption of the IAACA Presidency and the assumption of the IAACA Secretariat by the Hong Kong ICAC in January 2022, the Commission has worked closely with members of the IAACA Executive Committee to reach out to ACAs around the world to enhance communication and cooperation. We are also pleased to share that since the new IAACA term, 24 ACAs have joined the association as Organizational Members, bringing the total membership to 147, involving 100 countries.

ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu convenes the first regional meeting with IAACA Executive Committee members from the Asia-Pacific region, February 9, 2022. /ICAC

ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu convenes the first regional meeting with IAACA Executive Committee members from the Asia-Pacific region, February 9, 2022. /ICAC

By deepening member communication and collaboration through the newly established regional coordination mechanism, and further involving the association in different international avenues and platforms, as well as improving secretariat support to members of the IAACA, I hope we can strengthen the exchange of experiences, build the capacity of stakeholders to fight corruption and ultimately play our part in helping the world achieve target 16.5 of the development goals of the United Nations, which is to “significantly reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms” by 2030.

Closer to home, the ICAC has partnered with the Guangdong Provincial Supervisory Commission and the Macau Special Administrative Region’s Anti-Corruption Commission (CCAC) to establish a high-level exchange platform to improve collaboration and foster closer ties in the fight against corruption in Guangdong-Hong. Greater Kong Bay-Macao region. The three authorities exchanged views on strengthening anti-corruption collaboration on different fronts, including the fight against cross-border corruption, the promotion of a culture of probity and the organization of capacity building programs for the personnel of the TO THAT. Serving as a pilot project to enhance synergy in the Greater Bay Area’s anti-corruption collaboration, the ICAC is in active dialogue with the Qianhai Anti-Corruption Bureau to foster anti-corruption cooperation.

ICAC officials are seen during an online meeting with the CCAC to exchange views on the anti-corruption work of the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR on February 18, 2021. /ICAC

ICAC officials are seen during an online meeting with the CCAC to exchange views on the anti-corruption work of the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR on February 18, 2021. /ICAC

During the anti-graft journey, some countries may travel faster while others may find the road rough and bumpy. But as I pointed out earlier, this is not a race. As one of the forerunners of this journey, the ICAC is aware of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and always stands ready to help. The commission will continue to fulfill its international obligation. We will leave no one behind. Together, we will one day reach our destination: a world without corruption.

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