Closing Session

Marie Bohata, 10th IACC, Plenary report, Governance

 

Marie Bohata:

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, it is my distinct pleasure to open the last session of our conference. This last session is somewhat special. We will be reflecting upon what we have been doing for the last couple of days, but also looking into the future.

I would like to ask first Tunku Abdul Aziz to read a document which we call the Final Statement. Let me also introduce very briefly our speaker. As you may know, Tunku is one of the pillars of the anti-corruption movement in Asia. He serves as Vice-Chairman of the TI board and I would like to recall - and many of you will remember - the wonderful conference Tunku hosted in Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

Tunku Abdul Aziz:

Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, the unique feature of the IACC is that we have come together as men and women in our individual capacities - we do not represent or speak for the organizations, governments and corporations, which may or may not employ us. We make a statement which we believe reflects a broad consensus, but, obviously, not every single delegate is expected or understood to have agreed to every word. The various aspects of it have been discussed informally with various participants and the statement has been approved for submission to you by our conference chairman.

In accordance with past practice I will read the statement, and at the conclusion you will be invited to endorse the statement by acclamation.

Click here for the text of the final declaration.

Marie Bohata:

Ladies and gentlemen, we are almost at the end of our conference. I would like to ask now Michal Burian, Director of the Transparency International Czech Republic, to complete his job. We will start our small ceremony when Mr. Burian will be handing over the conference to our colleagues from Korea. So let me now give the floor to Michal.

Michal Burian:

Thank you very much. Mrs Chairwoman, Mr. President, Mr. Mayor of Seoul, distinguished guests, friends. I am here, as probably most of you expect, to say that the conference is at its very end, but I would like to say that this is not completely the case. I would like to invite you for this afternoon to a very special event that will take place on Wenceslas Square at the art exhibition tent after this plenary and finish at four o'clock. I hope I will meet you all there, and there, too, on Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague, we can say good-bye.

I would like to thank all of you for coming to Prague, I would like to thank you for your tremendous work you have done before the conference and during the conference. I would like to thank all our partners for their kind support. Let me give my very special thanks to the members of the team that prepared this conference. This was real teamwork, and we would not have been able to organize this conference without the help of our colleagues in Prague, in Berlin, in London and other TI chapters. Thank you very much.

Indeed, the conference is at its very end, and I would like to wish much success to our colleagues in Seoul. They will have a very difficult job because they will be organizing not just one conference, but two of them. This will probably be the biggest challenge from the start of the IACC series, so let us keep our fingers crossed for our colleagues in Korea.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me invite on the stage Mr. Kevin Ford who is serving chairman of the International Anti-corruption Conference Council, and also Mr. Barry O´Keefe, member of the IACC Council, to make a short speech and assist me with the hand-over ceremony.

Kevin Ford:

Ladies and gentlemen, the work is almost at an end. On behalf of the Council I want to thank you all for coming. I also want to thank our local hosts and organizers. Now, we will have the short ceremony to turn over the conference to our new hosts in Seoul. Before we do that I want to inform you that we have a new chairman for the conference going forward in the honorable Mr. Barry O´Keefe.

And as we end this ceremony and as everyone prepares to return to your home country and to your daily lives, let us just remember: If we remain together against corruption, we will succeed. At this time I would like to ask the Mayor of Seoul to come over and join us.

Marie Bohata:

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce Mayor Kun Goh to you. Before the address he will be giving I would like to stress that he has had an impressive career both in academia and in government. This is the second term he is serving as Mayor of the City of Seoul, he also served as minister in the government, and quite recently as Prime Minister. The floor is yours, Excellency.

Kun Goh:

Your Excellency, Vicente Fox Quesada, President of Mexico, Mr. Kevin Ford, Chairman of the IACC, Mr. Peter Eigen, President of Transparency International, distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great privilege to receive this special whistle to hold in on the next anti-corruption conference. The next conference in Seoul will be a special occasion, as it will be opened with the Global Forum in 2003. Prague has set such a high standard that it will be a difficult track for us to follow. However, in close cooperation with the TI Chapter and the 11th IACC organizing committee, we will make every effort to make the next conference as productive as any of the preceding ones.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. A government-led development year is at an end in Korea and we are now arranging to implement a market-led economy to proceed at a great speed. Efforts are being undertaken from all sectors of society to cast away the legacy of bureaucratic corruption and the collusion between politics and business. Seoul was the engine of compressed development and the legacy of the past years was most deeply rooted in its administration. However, the City of Seoul is now standing at the forefront of the anti-corruption reforms.

Two years ago in Durban I outlined the systemic anti-corruption iniciatives of the Seoul metropolitan government. As I indicated at the time, my emphasis was on reforming the entire administrative process and structure, so corruption could not take root. The four major lines of action were preventive measures, punitive measures, increased transparency, and enhanced public participation. Preventive measures included widely spread deregulation to reduce space for undue discretionary power, mass reshuffling of personnel in areas prone to corrupt practices, and the abolishment of areal jurisdiction in order to prevent patron-customer relationships. As for punitive measures, we have introduced the principle of zero tolerance for corruption. Citizens can inform the mayor directly of any wrongdoings through e-mail to the mayor, and the corruption report-cards system. I have made sure that every wrongdoer has been punished. As a minister I enhanced administrative transparency and public participation. I tried to do this as a one-line procedure with the enhancement of civil applications as an open system. The system increased the transparency of the administration by allowing the citizens to monitor the entire processing of the civil application from receipt to the final stages on the internet in real time. This eliminates the need for personal contact with officials and for the paying of the express fees.

In Durban I also explained about the anti-corruption index. This system evaluates the level of integrity of each administrative unit through direct survey of people who have actually had business with the city government, and the results are made public every year thereby promoting the government departments to enter into competition for integrity. Since the Durban conference we have not only steadfastly implemented these programs, but also devised some new programs. The Integrity Pact is a notable example. Under this program, when businessmen and civil servants enter into contract in connection with, say, procurement, construction or consulting, they pledge that neither side will offer or demand bribes under specific conditions of punishment. Five ombudsmen from civil organizations are acting as watchdogs, from the bidding process through to the termination of the contract. As for the measures to ensure transparency in public procurement, an electronic tendering system was introduced. These anti-corruption initiatives have now taken firm root as an everyday systemwide activity in the city administration.

Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to report to you that these initiatives of the Seoul government have made significant progress in the past two years. According to various polls, the majority of citizens view that the City Hall has cleaned up its acts in terms of corruption. The results of the anti-corruption index itself have steadily improved in all fields. The open system, it seems, has become the trademark of Seoul. Since its first introduction in Durban, its merit was recognized by the OECD, the World Bank, the Asia Foundation, the American Society for Public Administration, and even the Time magazine. In Korea, all of the central government ministeries and many of the local governments are utilizing this open system. The open system will soon be distributed to the member states of the UN. Following an agreement between the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and myself, an international workshop of experts was held in Seoul to explore ways to supply the open system worldwide. The manual for the system is now being prepared in six languages.

The very essence behind the reform efforts of Seoul is to create an environment for individuals to stand firm against temptations. We realized the necessity for a constant monitoring system under which the administration is put under constant scrutiny of the public. In all these efforts we have strived to mobilize two resources whose latent potential is immense: civil society on one hand, and information technologies on the other. We have involved individual citizens and civil organizations in our collective fight against corruption. We have also utilized the emerging TIs to make the metropolitan government open to public surveillance and participation. This is the essence of the open system as well. The Seoul metropolitan government is in the process of integrating the parental open system with the city's computerized internal approval systems. It is in its final stages of development; it will be implemented by the end of the year. Not only will the transparency and productivity be improved even further, but also a genuinely two-way communication system will be established between the City Hall and the public.

Your Excellencies and honorable participants, the world is shocked over the tragedy in New York. If we define terrorism as an inhumane act that physically threatens our society from the outside, then we may say that corruption is an anti-ethical behavior that undermines the foundations of our society from the inside. Here lies the reason why we must wage war against corruption in league with all the nations of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, I look forward to seeing you in Seoul in two years. Thank you very much.

Marie Bohata:

Thank you very much, indeed, for your presentation. We very much look forward to coming to Seoul, and good luck with the conference.

Excellency, honorable guests, dear friends and colleagues. We are coming now to the very end of the conference. I think this was a wonderful opportunity to share our vision of a corruption-free world, to share our tremendous expertise in the field of fighting corruption, and also committment. It is something really impressive, so I would like to suggest that we continue working together also in the future. I think partnership and cooperation based on trust and mutual respect are even more important today when our world is threatened by terrorism.

I would like to thank you all for your wonderful contributions to the conference. Once again I would like to thank the organizers for their work, without which this event could not have happened. I wish you all the best, and have a safe journey home. Thank you all and hope to see you soon.

 

 

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