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Regional conference on digital technology and anti-corruption

A three-day conference has commenced in Fiji, with discussions focused on the role that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play in the fight against corruption across the Pacific.

Bringing together senior officials from across the region’s anti-corruption sector, alongside regional and international experts in the field of digitalization, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji is leading the way on efforts to harness new approaches to combatting corruption.

With support from the Government of the United Kingdom, via the UNDP-implemented Pacific Anti-Corruption Project, UNDP Pacific is working across the region to improve public financial management and address corruption. This approach includes using technology to assist in budget preparation, promoting the right to information and accountability, and strengthening anti-corruption institutions and civil society engagement in social transparency.

The pace of technological advancement has been relentless in the 21st Century, transforming the way we live, work, and communicate. From the rapid proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media to the more-recent emergence of the widespread use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), technology has become an integral part of our daily lives.

However, those yet to be connected remain cut off from the benefits of this new era, and remain further behind – in the Pacific alone, 40 percent of our region’s population remains ‘digitally excluded’. Connectivity, and the need to temper the view of digital as a one-size-fits-all fix will be an essential aspect of the three-day event.

His Excellency Dr. Brian Jones, British High Commissioner to Fiji, in his opening remarks said:

We see all over the world the horrible consequences of money laundering and corruption; it hits the poorest people hardest and compounds harm on the most vulnerable, including women and girls in our communities. Illicit funds are used to enable a whole range of threats, including funding serious organised crime – trafficking of narcotics and cyber attacks. In the Pacific we’re working to increase the flow of climate finance to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change and the use of mobile money for payments and remittances grows, so too does the risk that these areas can be exploited by criminal actors.

Therefore, we must use this opportunity of our partnership, which the UK is proud to support, to share knowledge, foster new relationships, build integrity and bring together the Pacific family to share regional best practice and experience and build our defences to illicit Finance.

Munkhtuya Altangerel, Resident Representative, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, opened the conference and said:

While we must adapt and innovate to keep up with the relentless march of progress, we must also be cautious when it comes to digitalization and technology. The digital revolution offers powerful tools to combat corruption, but these tools alone won’t win the fight. We need strong institutions, empowered citizens, and a commitment from Pacific Island nations to work together, and this conference offers the opportunity to forge a path toward a more transparent and accountable future in the Pacific.

Tackling corruption in the Pacific: Can technology and artificial intelligence facilitate a breakthrough? is supported by the Government of the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. The three-day conference will conclude on 31 May.