Berlin, 15 November 2021 – The first-ever Global Corruption Barometer – Pacific released by Transparency International today reveals that corruption is a significant problem in the region.
When it comes to corruption, the Pacific has been one of the most under-studied regions in the world. Representing the views of over 6,000 people across ten countries and territories, it is the most extensive public opinion survey on corruption ever gathered in the region. The results highlight some worrying trends.
More than three in five people interviewed in the region believe that corruption is a problem in their government. Businesses were viewed as a major part of the problem, where government contracts appear to be a corruption hotspot. Moreover, almost half think there is little control over companies who extract natural resources, one of the largest industries in the region.
Around a quarter of respondents have been offered a bribe for their votes and 15% received threats of retaliation if they did not vote in a specific way. The survey also uncovered that almost a third of interviewees had paid a bribe to receive public services. Receiving a quicker or better public service was named as the most common reason for bribery.
These are worrying findings, especially given ongoing corruption concerns related to COVID-19 in the region. While a majority of respondents (54 per cent) felt that their governments had dealt with the crisis in a transparent manner, there have been allegations that some governments have used the pandemic to expand their powers, that certain emergency funds have been misused and that media freedom is being increasingly restricted.
The good news is that over 70 per cent of respondents think that ordinary people can help fight corruption, and more than 60 per cent think their government is doing a good job combatting corruption. Pacific leaders are urged to harness this hopeful belief – and the powerful guidance this new data offers about where problems lie – and take immediate action to create fairer and more transparent societies.
“This new data reveals for the first time the high levels of corruption directly experienced by people in the Pacific, which points to a pressing need for reform. Governments need to listen to their people and address their corruption problems to ensure they can vote freely and access quality public services easily, regardless of who they know and what they can pay, rooted in fairness and accountability.” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International.
“Pacific leaders have made several positive steps by making public commitments and national initiatives to tackle corruption. By putting communities at the heart of positive change, governments can ensure they achieve meaningful reforms.” Mariam Mathew, Pacific Regional Lead, Transparency International.
Notes to editors
The Global Corruption Barometer surveyed 6,000+ adults of diverse age groups and backgrounds from February to March 2021. For details on the survey approach, please see the methodology note in the report.
Detailed recommendations are also available in the report, as is a breakdown of the findings from each country or territory: the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
Multimedia material is available for download, including video footage of the region, as well as interviews with national and regional Transparency International experts.
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