Identifying solutions for Anti-Corruption Agencies to achieve success in ASEAN

October 3, 2022


Author: Stefano Pighin, Communication and Partnerships Officer, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Corruption damages the rule of law, lessens the trust of citizens, and exacerbates the impact of COVID-19.  Studies conducted in developing countries indicate that day-to-day petty corruption negatively impacts mental well-being, creating anxiety and feelings of hopelessness[1]. But for any post-pandemic economic recovery plan to succeed, a commitment to combating corruption and enhancing transparency in governance structures and processes is a must.

By 2020, 114 countries established Anti-Corruption Agencies in response to persistent threats to human security, including most of the governments in ASEAN.

UNDP advanced efforts to foster democratic governance with partner countries in the region through the recently published Guidance Note for Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs), developed by FairBiz - Promoting a Fair Business Environment project. The project is funded by the UK Government, and the ASEAN Economic Reform Programme. 

The ACAs are relatively new institutions, and still in the early stages of development, so many still lack a structured, data-driven system to monitor and evaluate achievements. With few studies to systematically identify success indicators, the UNDP Guidance Note for ASEAN provides advice and direction to address this core issue with a four-step method to strengthen the performance and the strategic approach of ACAs. 

The work of FairBiz with public agencies, such as the ACAs, is key to ensuring that anti-corruption and business integrity laws, strategies and policies are well designed and implemented.

Building strong institutions is vital to prevent corruption and to better deliver services to citizens, a crucial step in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.