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World’s largest anti-corruption forum to highlight the power of integrity

Jeon Hyun-heui (center right), chairperson of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, appoints boy band Monsta X as the publicity ambassadors of the International Anti-Corruption Conference at COEX in Gangnam District, Seoul, Oct. 23. (ACRC)
Jeon Hyun-heui (center right), chairperson of the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, appoints boy band Monsta X as the publicity ambassadors of the International Anti-Corruption Conference at COEX in Gangnam District, Seoul, Oct. 23. (ACRC)

South Korea will host the world’s largest global forum on anti-corruption this week, bringing together world leaders via virtual link to discuss international cooperation to fight corruption.

Under the theme of “Designing 2030: Truth, Trust and Transparency,” the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission, the country’s anti-corruption policy control tower, will host the 19th International Anti-Corruption Conference from Tuesday to Friday at a studio located in Coex, Seoul.

More than 3,500 people from governments, academia, civil society and the media from about 140 countries have registered to participate in the four-day virtual conference that will be livestreamed online from the studio, according to the commission.

“The key subject of this year’s IACC is countries around the world should look for ways to make changes together to protect the value of integrity that is more emphasized than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the next 10 years to make a better 2030,” the commission said.

This year’s conference will offer a broad scope of discussions on anti-corruption issues involving human rights, women, the environment, public administration, industries and education through 120 programs including seven plenary sessions and 104 workshops.

Moderated by Jeon Hyun-heui, chairperson of the ACRC, the opening ceremony consists of the opening declaration, a screening of the video on the conference theme, and President Moon Jae-in’s welcoming speech along with remarks made by International Anti-Corruption Conference Council Chair Huguette Labelle and Transparency International Chair Delia Ferreira Rubio.

“The President’s welcome speech is aimed at sharing with the international community Korea’s commitment and efforts to fight corruption and achievements in anti-corruption based on public support and engagement,” the ACRC said.

Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will deliver a speech during the opening session Tuesday, followed by Kim Geo-sung, former chair of Transparency International-Korea, who will discuss new standards for transparency to establish peace and social justice.

On the second day of the event, the ACRC chairwoman will introduce new integrity strategies for a trust-based society, exemplifying Korea’s efforts to build a culture of integrity based on public participation and the eradication of power abuses and unfair hiring practices, as well as the country’s integrity policies including its responses to COVID-19 based on trust and transparency.

Overseas speakers scheduled to attend include OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, IMF President Kristalina Georgieva, World Economic Forum President Borge Brende, Asian Development Bank President Masatsugu Asakawa and Inter-American Development Bank President Mauricio Claver-Carone.

During a special conversation session on Wednesday, Michael J. Sandel, a professor of political philosophy at Harvard University, will address “justice in the post-COVID-19 era.”

He will share his insightful ideas on the nature of society in light of the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on interdependence and communality. The negative effects of market liberalism and meritocracy, and the renewed need for the common good will be considered during the session, the ACRC said.

Participants are allowed to make inquiries and comments while freely taking part in the discussions through real-time chats as they watch the conference live on the website.

The ACRC has planned and organized two workshops to address the experience of Korea sharing its best practices for integrity and discuss with the international community the importance and implications of transparency and trust demonstrated in the “K-quarantine” model.

The plenary session planned for Thursday will center on collective action for trust and integrity to highlight the importance of intergovernmental and cross-border efforts in combating corruption.

On Friday, a plenary session on “breaking the vicious cycle of corrupt money and impunity” will take place to discuss measures to counter money laundering and tax haven issues.

In the closing ceremony, the conference will adopt a “Seoul Declaration” to share the discussions at the 19th IACC with the international community and call for people around the world to build a future with integrity.

Korea enacted the Anti-Corruption Act in 2001 and in 2002 it set up the Anti-Corruption Commission, now the ACRC, with an aim to strengthen competitiveness, reduce administrative regulations, improve corporate governance and enhance transparency in accounting.

The country came in 39th place out of 180 countries and territories with an all-time high of 59 points on a scale of zero to 100 within a span of just one year in the latest 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index released by Transparency International.

Korea ranked 45th in 2018 and 51st in 2017 on the same index.