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‘Put fight against corruption at center of post-pandemic agenda’

S. Korea to host International Anti-Corruption Conference online

International Anti-Corruption Conference 2020 (IACA)
International Anti-Corruption Conference 2020 (IACA)

This year’s International Anti-Corruption Conference will be held online Dec. 1-4, host country South Korea’s public anti-corruption watchdog said Wednesday.

The Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission said the conference, which marks its 19th event, will discuss post-coronavirus trends and their impact on anti-corruption efforts.

Jeon Hyun-heui, the commission’s chairperson, said in a statement to the press that “in a crisis context, the task of monitoring public resources aren’t being misused or exploited is faced with new threats. By prioritizing speed of response in combatting the disease, ample opportunities are created for possible oversight.”

“In order to prevent corruption and waste, public administration’s accountability and transparency in the emergency procedures are key,” she said.

Originally slated for June, the conference is one of the world’s biggest anti-corruption events -- joined by government delegations, civil society and the private sector for the purpose of strengthening global cooperation in tackling challenges posed by corruption.

In an online statement, the organizers of the conference said the conference in Korea “will provide a distinctive opportunity to assess the future of the fight against corruption in the post-COVID-19 world and to shape the future we want to see.”

Korea was chosen as the host of the 2020 event during the last event in Copenhagen, Denmark. Transparency International, a Berlin-based international nongovernmental organization dedicated to combating corruption, is the conference’s co-host.

On the Corruption Perceptions Index, which scores countries by perceived levels of corruption in the public sector, Korea ranked as the 39th least corrupt out of all 180 countries assessed in 2019. Among the 39 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member states, Korea came 27th in the same year.

While Korea’s fight against corruption has made some progress, challenges remain.

The OECD’s 2020 surveys said “high-level corruption involving politicians and top private company executives remains problematic” in Korea. The surveys also attributed the country’s improvement in controlling corruption to the anti-corruption commission’s expansion in 2008.

By Kim Arin (