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  • Talking Corruption

    Talking Corruption
    Spotlight Interview

    This month we talk to Professor Pakdee Pothisiri, Commissioner of the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand

    It has been almost six months since Bangkok hosting the 14th IACC, has there been any discernible impact?

    It can be difficult to measure the impact of hosting an international conference of this scale in such a short amount of time. Overall, the Thai media and public were satisfied with the outcome of conference although naturally they’re still waiting to see that the government live up to its commitments and honour its promises to seriously tackle corruption in the country. By and large I am positively confident that the 14th IACC helped raise public awareness of corruption and generated stronger momentum for the anti-corruption efforts in Thailand and around the world.

    By far the most notable achievement in Thailand following its hosting of the 14th IACC has been the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). The Thai Council of Ministers consented to the NACC’s proposal to ratify the UNCAC shortly after the close of the Conference. Coincidentally, the decision to join the Convention was made on 14th of December 2010, which was the day that marked the fifth year anniversary of the entry into force of the UNCAC. Thailand officially became its 149th State Party on 1 March 2011.

    To what extent will the ratification of the UNCAC improve the work of the NACC?

    The ratification of the UNCAC represents an important milestone for Thailand in its endeavour towards better transparency and good governance. It will not only provide a renewed impetus and momentum for the anti-corruption efforts in Thailand, but it will also give out a clear signal to the international community that we are strongly committed to participating in the global fight against corruption.

    Nonetheless, it is important to note that, for Thailand, the ratification of the UNCAC is not an end in itself. Rather, it is the beginning of a more intensive process to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention. Therefore, much of our national effort is now put into finding the ways in which the Convention can be best implemented.

    Indeed, since Thailand’s signing of the UNCAC in 2003, we have been actively undergoing a series of amendments to our domestic legislation to ensure its consistency with the requirements of the Convention. The NACC is currently in the process of establishing the Thailand Anti-Corruption Agreements Coordination Center (TACC), which will act as the focal unit for coordinating anti-corruption matters, both legal and academic, amongst domestic and overseas agencies. The coordination center will evolve into an important mechanism to assist Thailand in performing its obligations under the UNCAC.

    Could you update us on the NACC’s latest progress in implementing the Bangkok Declaration?

    The vast amount of findings and recommendations generated from the workshops and plenaries formed a comprehensive and up-to-date anti-corruption encyclopaedia. Particularly, the Bangkok Declaration produced on the last day of the 14th IACC summarises the wealth of knowledge and best practices in the field of anti-corruption shared over the course of the 4-day Conference. On our part, the NACC is currently working on translating the acquired knowledge and findings into practice and relevant policy recommendations to be shared across the public and private sectors and civil society.

    For those who haven’t already read the Declaration, I would strongly encourage you to read it.

    In retrospect, what did you find most impressive about the 14th IACC?

    I was particularly impressed by the broad range of topics addressed in the workshops and was very encouraged by the large turnout at the Conference. Amongst the over 1200 participants from 135 countries were heads of state, academics, civil society, business and government representatives who came with a clear intent to forge collective solutions to the most pressing challenges in global transparency and governance. For those who could not attend the Conference, the workshop reports provide a comprehensive introduction to the issues discussed.

    I also enjoyed the IACC Cinema and appreciated the active participation of so many young journalists who diligently reported on the workshop sessions through their creative use of social media tools. It’s really reassuring to see our younger generations taking a keen interest in corruption issues.

    What is your vision for the IACC in the near future?

    This is what I envision will happen in the near future: There would be two major international events on anti-corruption. The intergovernmental forum of the Conference of State Parties (CoSP) to the UNCAC would be the designated venue for governments to make political commitments while the IACC, in its less formal settings, would provide the space for a diverse group of stakeholders to hold open debate and to inject new ideas and recommendations into the global anti-corruption community.

    Perhaps for a start, the NACC and IACC should work together to include the findings of the 14th IACC and the Bangkok Declaration into the deliberation of the upcoming 4th Session of the CoSP in Morocco in October. I am certain that our fellow State Parties will find them very informative and useful to their work.

    Learn more about Prof. Pakdee Pothisiri? Click here

    Learn more about the NACC? Click here

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