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Ethics and concrete steps needed to fight corruption, UNODC Talk Series told in Maluku

Ambon (Indonesia), 14 August 2012
- Participants in UNODC's Talk Series in Indonesia's famed Maluku Spice Islands of Ambon, Banda Neira, and Ternate said that promoting ethics and morality among the young were necessary to raise local anti-corruption awareness. They also requested that UNODC Indonesia use inputs from the Talk Series to propose concrete steps to the Government to fight corruption across the vast country.

Launched in February 2011, the UNODC Talk Series is a monthly public discussion forum on anti-corruption issues. Talk Series seeks to generate media reports on the issues raised to inform Indonesians about important corruption-related matters and thereby reinforce Indonesia's commitment to fight corruption.

Organized by UNODC Indonesia in collaboration with the Indonesian Commission for Eradication of Corruption (KPK), with funding provided by the Government of Norway and the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific, the Maluku Talk Series drew an audience of students, academics, local authorities, law enforcement, journalists and NGOs eager to discuss their corruption experiences and debate what could be done to prevent it on a national and local scale.

The Maluku Islands are a remote archipelago of 1,027 islands in Indonesia located 2,400 km from Jakarta. Rich in natural resources, the islands are famed for growing spices such as nutmeg, cloves and mace.

Local corruption issues, according to, include the provision of public services, transparency in education and local government budgets, and the absence of control, monitoring and supervision in local government management.

The discussions were presided over by Mr. Ajit Joy, UNODC Indonesia Country Manager, Mr. Paku Utama, UNODC Consultant, and Mr. Indraza Marzuki, KPK expert. Local contributors included Mr. Herman Oesman of Halmahera and Mr. Octavianus Lawalata of Ambon.

Throughout the Maluku Talk Series, participants argued that corruption had become a tradition, an everyday habit that involved communities from all walks of life. To eradicate corruption, many urged that ethics be taught to inculcate honesty in young Maluku islanders.

"Delivering awareness of ethics is important," said Mr. Indraza Marzuki, a KPK expert, at the Talk Series session at Pattimura University in Ambon. "The education system needs to be improved. KPK is in the process of adding anti-corruption awareness into the national education curriculum."

A lack of morality and ethics was not the only cause of corruption, some participants felt. Attention also needed to be paid to economic conditions.

"It is not greed that triggers corruption, but a low salary that forces people to look for alternative sources of income," bluntly argued a participant at the Banda Naira Talk Series session.

Among the meetings' positive outcomes, participants urged UNODC and KPK to follow up the discussions with a concrete anti-corruption action plan and to publish the experiences and information collected by the Talk Series to enhance local capacity throughout Indonesia to better fight against corruption.

In East Asia and the Pacific, Indonesia continues to be UNODC's primary focus for specific anti-corruption initiatives. UNODC projects in Indonesia continue to actively promote civil society engagement in anti-corruption strategy development and implementation.

UNODC, as the guardian of UN Convention Against Corruption, initiated the monthly anti-corruption UNODC Talk Series in 2011 to develop awareness of corruption and to advocate anti-corruption measures in Indonesia. Talk Series is an initiative of UNODC Indonesia made possible through funding by the Government of Norway.