The integrity road: fighting corruption in infrastructure in Asia-Pacific

Blog by Jeroen Michels, Samuel Brown and Balázs Gyimesi, Public Sector Integrity Division, Directorate for Public Governance, OECD

Corruption can derail us from going places – both in transport infrastructure and socio-economic development. Infrastructure is key to facilitating trade, but also to better health care and education, water supply systems, and waste treatment facilities. The complexity and high costs leave these projects exposed to corruption risks, as many cases around the world have shown. As countries in the Asia-Pacific region are investing heavily in public infrastructure, the need for managing corruption risks in large projects and developing holistic measures for fighting corruption has never been greater. The OECD helps countries get there, with tools such as the OECD Integrity Framework for Public Investment.

The framework guided the discussions of the Public Integrity Network meeting of the OECD and the Asian Development Bank, hosted by the Government of Viet Nam for the third occasion, on 4-6 December 2019 in Hanoi, Viet Nam. Reducing undue influence, strengthening risk management and improving corruption prevention were among the main topics of the meeting, a part of the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific’s 10th Regional Conference titled “Preventing and Combating Corruption in Infrastructure projects in Asia-Pacific”. Tackling corruption is always a collective effort – the representation of a wide range of government agencies from countries across the Asia-Pacific region underlined the whole-of-government approach at the core of the Public Integrity Network. Additionally, speakers from non-governmental organisations across the region shared insights in how to combat corruption and undue influence related to infrastructure projects.

The importance of infrastructure for sustainable socio-economic growth was also recognised by Deputy Prime Minister of Viet Nam Trương Hoà Bình and OECD Deputy Secretary-General Jeffrey Schlagenhauf at a bilateral meeting. Deputy PM Trương Hoà Bình asked the OECD to continue to work with the domestic Government Inspectorate to strengthen the agency’s processes and programmes, including in the area of management of conflicts of interest and asset declaration systems. With Viet Nam’s commitment to the guidelines and recommendations of the OECD, Deputy Secretary–General Jeffrey Schlagenhauf valued the approach of the Government of Viet Nam and recognised the achievements made in fighting corruption. Furthermore, the OECD announced the preparation of a Country Programme with Viet Nam.

Working together to strengthen integrity in infrastructure was the key objective of the Regional Conference. It equipped participants with examples of how to identify undue influence, strengthen risk management procedures, leverage the power of internal auditing, and rethink challenges in light of new technologies and the integration of economies and geo-political dynamics. The road of integrity leads to better policies, and ultimately better lives – the Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific is there to help countries lead the way.

Further reading:

ADB-OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia-Pacific
OECD Global Anti-corruption and Integrity Forum
OECD work on Anti-corruption and Integrity in the Public Sector
OECD work on Bribery and corruption

OECD Framework for the Governance of Infrastructure

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