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Accountability in Asia Pacific

A woman holds two plastic bags while shopping at a pineapple stand

Photo: Georgi Doglioni /

The TI Indo-Pacific Partnership for Strong, Transparent, Responsive & Open Networks for Good Governance (TI IPP STRONGG) 2020 – 2023, aims to contribute to reduced corruption in the Indo-Pacific region by empowering a strong and independent civil society voice and network that can mobilise action in support of increased accountability of public and private institutions nationally and regionally.

The project builds on a previous programme phase, the Asia Pacific Regional Programme: Effective and Accountable Governance for Sustainable Growth, implemented from 2016 to 2019.

What's at stake?

One of the most diverse and populous regions in the world, corruption remains a common challenge faced by most, if not all, countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Corruption is prevalent across most sectors, and evident in political, private and public spheres.

The Transparency International (TI) 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) scores many countries in the region below 50 out of 100, indicating that there is serious corruption in the public sector.

Although the past decade has seen progress, particularly through the development of accepted standards such as the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), much remains to be done if the commitment to make substantial progress by 2030 is to be truly advanced and maintained over time. This is only possible if corruption is addressed and good governance prevails.

National laws, institutions and practices are often poorly enforced and monitored, which results in governance deficits and allows for the manipulation of public power for private gain. State capture, excessive power of the executive, lack of public accountability, ineffective bureaucracy, collusion, and other corrupt business practices remain common shortcomings for many countries in the region.

The past few years have also seen an overall weakening of democratic institutions and political rights and shrinking civil society space, which have further impeded progress in combatting corruption.

What we're doing about it

As a civil society organisation, TI plays a key role in empowering people to be informed, aware, and equipped to act against corruption. The programme focuses on leveraging TI’s added value as an anti-corruption movement with national, regional and global presence, to strengthen civil society’s ability to influence and actively participate in efforts to strengthen good governance in the Indo-Pacific region towards:

  • Informed, engaged and active public demand for accountability - people, including women, young people, and vulnerable groups, need to be informed, engaged and active in holding their governments to account. At the same time, action is needed within institutions to be willing to listen to feedback and other evidence of malpractice and sanction corrupt behaviour as well as close loopholes to reduce opportunities for further corruption. TI will use its strong position of access to transmit public demand for accountability to institutions in question, and to develop new partnerships at national and regional levels.
  • Responsive, effective and accountable governance frameworks - public and private institutions need to be transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of their constituencies, including those in disadvantaged positions. TI will use its longstanding expertise in advocating for public policy and institutional reform based on best practice and civil society engagement.
  • A strong, independent and active TI civil society anti-corruption voice in the region - the TI movement in the region needs to strengthen its foundations to ensure it has sufficient capacity, voice, access, and agency to connect public and private institutions with the wider public. The programme will use the inherent strengths of the TI network to support TI chapters, increase capacity and learning between TI chapters, and increase presence at the regional level.

Our approach

TI believes in the need for multi-stakeholder approaches to governance and corruption challenges. No single actor or approach will be able to create and sustain lasting positive change.

Change needs to be created through multiple pressure points within an enabling environment that moves existing systems towards effective governance. As a civil society organisation, TI plays an important role in mobilising awareness and demand for accountability, and advocating for this demand to be heard, understood, and acted on by public and private institutions.

In an increasingly active governance space, the added value of TI remains its unique ability to combine international expertise and best practice with a local network of national anti-corruption leaders able to determine locally rooted approaches to improving governance and integrity in both policy and practice.

The Regional Programme will achieve policy and behaviour change toward the reduction of corruption across the Asia Pacific region by working at different levels, as enabled by the TI organisational model:

  • Firstly, through national interventions by TI chapters to catalyse policy and behaviour change at national and subnational levels;
  • Secondly, through opportunities for joint cooperation between chapters;
  • Thirdly, by working at the regional level to support national and regional actions that contribute to the programme objectives.

While the programme objectives and end of programme outcomes are consistent across both Asia and the Pacific, TI recognises the unique needs and opportunities for deeper engagement in the Pacific at both national and regional levels. TI-S has recently moved its Pacific Regional Advisor position from the main office in Germany to Australia, to support closer engagement with Pacific chapters.