Corruption challenges in small island developing states in the Pacific region

Filed under - Governance

Published on 9 September 2010 as a U4 Helpdesk answer
Please provide an overview of specific corruption challenges in small island developing states (SIDS), and specific challenges facing anti-corruption efforts in such places, with an emphasis on the Pacific region.

Purpose

Small island developing states (SIDS) have specific challenges due to their sizes and geographic isolation (particularly in the Pacific). How does this relate to corruption challenges in SIDS (cultural factors, small populations, small economies etc) and in turn, to specific challenges in anti-corruption efforts?

Content

1. Patterns of corruption in Small Island Developing States
2. Challenges to anti-corruption efforts in Pacific Island Countries (PICs)
3. References

Summary

Small island developing states (SIDS) share a set of common characteristics in terms of their size, geographic isolation and cultural tradition that may challenge their long term development and anti-corruption efforts. Against this background and in spite of relatively well developed legal and policy frameworks, corruption is a significant challenge for Pacific island countries (PICs) and manifests itself through various forms of bureaucratic, administrative and political corruption. Natural resource management is considered to be especially vulnerable, with problems of corruption identified in the oil, mining, forestry and fisheries sectors. Corruption risks associated with aid, offshore banking activities and transnational crime are also issues of growing concern across the region.

PICs are very diverse in terms of the extent of corruption risks and their respective level of governance, and law enforcement capacity. However, in most of these countries, anti-corruption efforts are hampered by weak government capacity, low levels of state penetration, limited opportunities for public participation, as well as a lack of civil society involvement. Many of these issues are linked to factors associated with the size of the countries, the geographical features of the region and the challenge to integrate political institutions with strong cultural and tribal traditions that prevail in the region.

There is still relatively little empirical evidence on what anti-corruption models would work best in the specific context of PICs. Strategies to address these challenges could include increasing political responsibility, foster public participation and promote a competitive private sector. The potential of traditional integrity systems to support anti-corruption efforts could also be explored.

Author(s): Marie Chêne, Transparency International, mchene@transparency.org
Reviewed by: Dieter Zinnbauer, Ph.D., Transparency International, dzinnbauer@transparency.org
Publication date: 9 September 2010
Number: 255

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Country / Territory - Fiji   |   Solomon Islands   |   Tonga   |   Vanuatu   
Region - Sub-Saharan Africa   |   Asia Pacific   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Environment   |   Governance   |   Oil and gas   |   Tools   

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