|FSM Secretary of Justice April Dawn Skilling|
This week in Panama City, over 1,500 participants from 139 countries have come together to discuss progress made in the fight against corruption. Secretary of Justice April Dawn M. Skilling is attending this fifth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption on behalf of the FSM. She is there together with 9 other Pacific Island Countries (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) representing the Pacific. This is the highest representation ever from the Pacific at an international anti-corruption forum.
The impact of corruption is undeniable – be it on sustainable development, rule of law, the environment, natural resources and much more. Corruption is also not simply a crime, but also the fuel of other criminal activities such as organized crime and human trafficking. This is why the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claimed, "Corruption is the thief of economic and social development; stealing the opportunities of ordinary people to progress and to prosper.”
The UNODC is the guardian of the UN Convention against Corruption to which the FSM is a State party together with 170 other countries. One of the opportunities to being a State party is an inter-governmental peer review process. This process will allow the FSM to take stock of its successes and challenges in the fight against corruption, in particular as a Small Island State. The FSM is currently undergoing this review process and its reviewers are from the Republic of Korea and Mongolia, scheduled to go to the FSM in March/April 2014 to complete an in-country visit for the review process.
More than 65 countries, represented by Ministers of Justice, Attorney Generals, Anti-Corruption Commissioners, and more addressed the Conference. While addressing the conference on behalf of the FSM, Secretary Skilling echoed the concerns of the Pacific, highlighting the unique nature of Small Islands and the importance of involving national, state, and traditional leaders in fighting corruption. “As a developing nation, still largely dependent on donor assistance, we understand that anti-corruption measures will take on a more important role in support of the primary development goals of our nation in agriculture, clean energy, tourism, and fisheries,” stated Secretary Skilling, and “we welcome this opportunity to improve, learn, and implement the best practices of anti-corruption measures from not only our Pacific Island neighbours, but from those in this Assembly who have paved the way before us.”
The fight against corruption is for future generations – everyone can do their part, including the youth in standing up and saying “no” to corruption!
For more information, call the Department at 320-2644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org