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Landmark social pact on anti-corruption and transparency launched in Korea

sparency International Korea initiative brings government, politics, business, and civil society together in a powerful national coalition

"The launch today of the Social Pact on Anti-Corruption and Transparency (K-PACT) is an important milestone in efforts to curb corruption in Korea,” said Geo-Sung Kim, Secretary-General of TI Korea and a member of the international board of Transparency International. TI Korea is the South Korean chapter of Transparency International (TI), the leading global non-governmental organisation devoted to combating corruption. He continues, “TI Korea is proud to have been the catalyst for the development of K-PACT and will be a very enthusiastic partner in ensuring that the alliance is effective.”

Initiated by TI Korea, K-PACT is a national alliance made up of representatives from civil society, the public, private, and political sectors, committed to promoting and improving transparency in Korean society. Among the commitments made, this alliance agrees to do the following: develop and improve systematic anti-corruption mechanisms; improve transparency in the public, private and political sectors, ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Global Compact; strengthen the accountability of civil society organisations; promote anti-corruption education in schools and eliminate the tolerance of corruption in Korean society.

This is the first time in Korean history that a coalition from many different sectors of society has united to fight corruption. K-PACT’s holistic approach indicates the enthusiasm existing within Korean society to deal with the problem of corruption and build upon past experiences. Indeed, the critical weakness of previous anti-corruption movements was their focus on only a part of society. Because of this feature they were unable to transform Korean society.

“K-PACT is a ground-breaking initiative to check corruption across all sectors of society,” said Peter Eigen speaking from Berlin. “This agreement reflects TI’s philosophy of building national coalitions to curb corruption and improve transparency and accountability.” He continues, “Without initiatives such as this, the good intentions and efforts of governments will not achieve a sustained reduction in corruption.”

Since the launch of the KICAC in 2002, Korea has made significant progress in developing the institutions and laws to fight corruption. However, it is clear that KICAC needs to redouble its efforts and that its work must be reinforced by the efforts of other stakeholders, notably politicians and political parties, the business sector and civil society. Korea’s scoring in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was 4.5 out of a perfect 10.0 in 2004 and Korea’s ranking in the 2002 Bribe Payer’s Index, at 18th place out of 21 major exporting countries, is even more worrying.

“Awareness of the damage corruption inflicts needs to be raised in the business community and in society at large. With the criminalisation of the bribery of foreign public officials in Korea and other OECD countries, the behaviour of Korean companies must change, not only at home, but in overseas markets too”, said Kim. “All sectors must commit to work together to take concrete actions to prevent corruption and to assist in enforcing anti-corruption laws. K-PACT is a positive and necessary step in this direction,” he added.

Through the creation and work of K-PACT, TI Korea anticipates that the awareness of the damage inflicted by corruption will dramatically increase and that it can serve as a foothold for a new society. TI Korea pledges itself to help K-PACT succeed in every way possible as South Korea’s future depends on it.

An English version of the K-PACT agreement can be downloaded at: www.ti.or.kr/k-pact.


For any press enquiries please contact

Peter Rooke
Tel: +49-30-3438 2031
Fax: +49-30-3470 3912
press@transparency.org

Rev. Geo-Sung Kim
Tel: +82 2 393 6211
Fax: +82 2 393 6212
gs@ti.or.kr