Celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day in the Lao PDR

Vientiane (Lao PDR), 28 December 2020 - The fight against corruption cannot be won alone. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) requires States to implement “coordinated anti-corruption policies that promote the participation of society”. International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) marks a yearly drive to raise awareness on corruption, particularly with respect to emerging challenges, and to promote cooperation to address them through coordinated strategies.

Over 100 representatives of Lao government agencies attended the IACD event

This year, the State Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority (SIAA) of the Lao PDR organized an event to mark IACD, with the participation of UNODC and the Luxembourg Institute for Legal Support and Technical Assistance. During the event, Mr. Chris Batt, UNODC Regional Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Financing of Terrorism Advisor, reflected on the dual challenges of Covid-19 and corruption, pointing out that to recover from the pandemic, States will require robust integrity measures to ensure that the effectiveness of healthcare systems and stimulus packages are not undermined by corruption.

Lao traditional dance to mark the opening ceremony of International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD)

There is growing recognition of Covid-19 and corruption as mutually reinforcing challenges. UNODC research has detailed how the pandemic has amplified corruption patterns globally and in the context of Southeast Asia. In his IACD message, Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, warned States against allowing “stimulus funds and vital emergency resources to be diverted”. This year’s motto for IACD, Recover with Integrity, aims to drive home the fact that an inclusive recovery from the pandemic can only be achieved through the meaningful prevention of corruption. The campaign emphasizes the need for “strong anti-corruption bodies, better oversight over emergency support packages, more open and transparent public procurement and enhanced anti-corruption compliance by the private sector”, as well as “support and protection for whistle-blowers and journalists uncovering corruption during the pandemic”.

'Recover with Integrity': IACD 2020 campaign poster

To meet these emerging challenges, UNODC has been engaging governments across the region on its upcoming workplan for 2021. Over the past 3 weeks, UNODC has conducted high level meetings with the Secretary General of the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand, the Director of the State Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority of the Lao PDR and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, for the development of programme activities in the countries.

At the IACD event, Mr. Sinan Meilangvanh (Vice President of the SIAA) referenced previous UNODC support, which has included trainings on financial investigations and support on corruption complaints mechanisms. He voiced enthusiasm for continuing collaboration with UNODC, on capacity building, education and awareness raising activities.

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