By Leilani Reklai, at the UN COSP10 in Atlanta, U.S, for the Pacific Anti-Corruption Journalists Network

Pacific Countries at the Tenth Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (CoSP10) in Atlanta, U.S, made significant commitments to strengthening Teieniwa Vision, adopted formally in 2021 as the Pacific’s regional roadmap on anti-corruption.

Most Pacific nations represented at CoSP10 raised the importance of Teieniwa Vision in their opening national statements, including Kiribati President Taneti Mamau and Tonga Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu, who also participated in the original Pacific Unity Against Corruption Leaders Conference in Kiribati in 2020, which drafted Teieniwa Vision.

President Mamau recalled the impact of Teieniwa Vision and reported that Kiribati had adopted a new National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2023-25.

“The desired outcomes of this strategy are intended to achieve the Government’s long-term vision in its KV-20 strategy which is creating Kiribati as a country free of corruption by the year 2036,” said President Mamau.

Tonga Deputy PM Vaipulu told CoSP delegates: “Teieniwa Vision aims at establishing a network on anti-corruption in the Pacific region with countries sharing experiences, lessons learned and best practices in their collective efforts to curb corruption. It also recognises the importance of strong leadership and building political will to stand and unite against corruption,”.

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Pila Niningi, reported to CoSP that PNG has enacted the Proceeds of Crime Act amendment with provisions on “Unexplained Wealth”; and passed the Whistleblower Protection Act.

Tuvalu’s representative at CoSP, Crown Counsel Grant Drecala, said that Tuvalu stands firmly in support of the Teieniwa Vision.

“This commitment is reflected in Tuvalu’s active participation in the development and implementation of the framework. Recognising the importance of collective action in combating corruption, Tuvalu sees the Teieniwa Vision as a vital tool for fostering integrity, transparency, and accountability across the Pacific region. By aligning its National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) with the principles of the Teieniwa Vision, Tuvalu aims to contribute significantly to the realisation of a corruption-free Pacific,” said Drecala.

At a CoSP Special Event organised by UNODC and the Pacific Islands Forum on the Teieniwa Vision, PIFS Secretary-General Henry Puna announced that a follow-up conference focused on implementation of Teieniwa Vision – Pacific Unity Against Corruption II – would be scheduled during 2024.

Palau’s Attorney-General, Ernestine K. Rengiil, told delegates that Palau will also participate in the Teieniwa Vision implementation taskforce being established by UNODC and PIF.

Nauru confirmed that the Government is currently in the process of advertising the position of and selecting an Ombudsman to fulfil the requirements of the Leadership Code Act 2016. In collaboration with UNODC, Nauri is also working on their first National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which will serve as a supplementary initiative to the Government’s collective endeavours concerning UNCAC.

Perelini Perelini, PSC Commissioner and Representative of the Independent State of Samoa at the CoSP said Samoa in June this year joined other Pacific countries along with UNODC and PIFS in Fiji to initiate their implementation plans under the Teieniwa Vision. “All of our progress and aspirations for a peaceful, harmonious and prosperous Pacific cannot be realised unless we address corruption,” Commissioner Perelini told CoSP delegates.

Solomon Islands confirmed the final draft of their second National Anti-Corruption Strategy, to cover 2024-2027 was being finalised.

Australia’s Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, in Australia’s main country statement also backed Teieniwa Vision.

“We are equally committed to supporting our partners in the Pacific with their anti-corruption ambitions, underpinned by the Teieniwa Vision for Pacific Unity Against Corruption,” said Dreyfus.

The Global Organisation of Parliamentarians Against Corruption stated: “Pacific parliamentarians are working with GOPAC Oceania and UNODC to adopt the regional anti-corruption roadmap called Teieniwa Vision and implement Teieniwa Vision within the umbrella of UNCAC.”

The tenth session of the Conference of the States Parties (CoSP10) to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, held every two years, sees over 150 Member States meeting to strengthen international cooperation to tackle corruption, with more than 1000 participants from governments, regional and intergovernmental organisations, academia, civil society, media and the private sector.