A new role in global anti-corruption community
As we move into the new year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all success and good health in 2022!
The beginning of the year also marks a new milestone for Hong Kong's anti-corruption work. I am deeply honoured to be elected the President of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) and given the opportunity to further contribute to the global anti-corruption work.
The IAACA was founded in 2006 as the first institution for anti-corruption agencies worldwide. In the past fifteen years, the Association has been instrumental in promoting the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and fostering international anti-corruption collaboration. Over 140 countries, regions and jurisdictions, including most of the major anti-corruption authorities around the world, have participated as members or engaged in various IAACA initiatives. The Association has also established close working relationship with international organisations, and collaborated with these like-minded organisations in a variety of joint projects and capacity building programmes.
While the IAACA and its members have been dedicating themselves to preventing and combating corruption on international, regional and national platforms, the need for even closer international collaboration against corruption has never been more immediate. Corruption is still a major challenge to the world. According to international studies and surveys, the world has made little or no progress in tackling corruption in the last decade. What makes the situation even more urgent is that there are only nine years remaining for all of us to attain the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 16.5 to "substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms" by 2030.
The international community realises this critical situation. In June 2021, the first ever United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly against corruption adopted a Political Declaration, which further emphasised the needs of multilateral cooperation to tackle corruption. The IAACA can serve as an important international focal point for anti-corruption authorities around the world to strengthen experience sharing and mutual exchange, enhance stakeholders' capabilities of fighting corruption, and give effect to this Political Declaration.
Over the years, with the strong support of member of the public and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Independent Commission Against Corruption ("ICAC") of Hong Kong, China has effectively kept corruption under control. We have also created a sustainable integrity culture and a level playing field for businesses, which has enabled Hong Kong to thrive as a major international financial, shipping and trading centre. Our integrated approach combining law enforcement, corruption prevention and community education has proved to be an effective model to combat and prevent corruption on a sustainable basis.
The Hong Kong ICAC has always been an active member of the international anti-corruption community. With almost 50 years of anti-graft experience, the Hong Kong ICAC has leveraged our expertise to contribute to the global fight against corruption through international cooperation in law enforcement, experience sharing, and technical assistance. We understand that it is of paramount importance for anti-corruption authorities to have the full-fledged capability to tackle corruption. Therefore, we have been actively offering capacity building programmes to our counterparts. Since 2017, the Hong Kong ICAC has connected with anti-corruption authorities of over 60 Belt and Road countries for capacity building collaboration, and conducted 30 training programmes for over 1,000 graft fighters from fellow anti-corruption authorities. We have also been an active IAACA member since the Association's establishment. My predecessor started to serve as member of the IAACA's Executive Committee in 2008, and I took over in July 2012 till now. In addition, as Convenor of its Training Committee from 2017 onwards, I had arranged a host of training activities for IAACA members.
I am very honoured that I can represent the Hong Kong ICAC to contribute further to the IAACA and its meaningful missions. During my tenure as President of the IAACA, my colleagues and I will work closely with the Executive Committee to sustain the IAACA's existing programmes, implement new initiatives and chart a clear way forward for the Association. I shall deepen members' communication and collaboration through the new regional coordination mechanism. The Association will be more involved in different international avenues and platforms. The Hong Kong ICAC will also enhance the Secretariat support to members of IAACA. The ultimate aim is to strengthen the Association's role as the focal point of international anti-corruption collaboration, and to enable the IAACA to take centre stage of the international anti-corruption mission.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. They have given full support for my candidacy and the Hong Kong ICAC's participation in the international anti-corruption cause.
The Hong Kong ICAC will continue to be committed to our anti-corruption mandate in Hong Kong. At the same time, as a member of the global anti-corruption community and as President of the IAACA, we look forward to working with our anti-graft counterparts around the world. Together we hope to help build a fair and corruption-free world.