UNDP and private-sector anti-corruption network sign partnership
BANGKOK - The growing coalition against corruption in Thailand got a major boost today, Thursday, 23 August when the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Anti-Corruption Network signed a partnership declaration at the Sathornthani Center of Rangsit University.
Corruption is a serious and systemic problem in Thailand. A recent ABAC poll reported that a majority (63.4%) of Thai people still hold the view that corruption in government is acceptable as long as they also benefit from it. A majority of young people also now share this view.
The newly-signed partnership aims to promote regular dialogue and strategy on fighting corruption, the development of public advocacy campaigns, and knowledge sharing in raising public awareness and building capacity of organizations within the expanding network.
The Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) is a private sector group led by a consortium of Thai businessmen and more than 30 industry associations, which include the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Bankers’ Association, the Federation of Thai Industries, and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET).
Pramon Sutivong, Advisor to the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Network kicked off the partnership ceremony, which preceded a research seminar hosted by Rangsit University and Prof. Dr. Sungsidh Piriyarangsan, Director of Chandrakasem Rajabhat University.
“Corruption is getting worse. A survey by outside institutions ranked Thailand very low, much more than outside countries. We should be concerned. This has prompted our network, now with more 42 agencies and organizations, both private and public to fight corruption,” said Sutivong.
The partnership complements UNDP’s on-going Anti Corruption Initiative, which seeks to bring together line ministries and commissions such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission, civil society, and the private sector to fight systemic corruption in Thai society.
“This partnership signals that every sector in Thailand is now actively engaged in fighting corruption,” said Yuxue Xue, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Thailand in his opening remarks.
“The combination of the resources from the private sector, the enforcement power of NACC and the raw energy of young people is a powerful force—one we hope will break corruption’s hold on Thailand.”
UNDP has engaged civil society and the NACC in raising awareness, with a focus on democratic governance. In collaboration with the College of Local Administration (COLA) at Khon Kaen University, UNDP held an anti-corruption camp in June with student leaders from 15 universities across Thailand.
Four more camps will be held in September and will feature many prominent speakers. In June, journalist Prasong Lertrattanawisute addressed student leaders at COLA. The September camps will add as many as 60 more universities and more than 500 engaged students.
On Anti Corruption Day in December 2012, UNDP will hold an art exhibition at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) featuring anti-corruption themed art from as many as 30 Thai universities.