Lawmakers sign integrity pledge
By Kim Bo-eun
Fifteen lawmakers signed an integrity pledge Monday to join an anti-corruption campaign initiated by Transparency International (TI).
“We organized the event as an effort to break the impasse in parliament in terms of stamping out corruption,” said Kim Geo-sung, chairman of TI Korea.
The pledge will encourage lawmakers to acquire professional knowledge on anti-corruption, to actively suggest programs and policies and to show willingness to combat corruption at the National Assembly.
Korea still scores low on the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with 5.3 out of 10 in 2011. The highest Korea has scored so far was 5.6 in 2008. Meanwhile, the CPI of countries such as Singapore that rank among the top, score around 9.8. Korea ranks 27th out of the 34 member states of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“A holistic approach is necessary to fight corruption,” said Kim. “Efforts need to be made on three fronts: first by establishing law and institutions, second by exposing and penalizing corruption, and third by creating sound, ethical mindsets of the people,” he said.
“Although it falls behind in every front, Korea needs to make the greatest effort in the second and third ones,” he said.
TI Korea has been striving to do so since its establishment in 1999. In the early 2000s it developed the Youth Integrity Index (YII), and conducted a nationwide study on young individuals’ perceptions of corruption. The YII was introduced to TI’s activities, and youth integrity promotion has become an important issue in the Asia-Pacific region.
TI Korea has also encouraged the business sector to join the anti-corruption campaign by conducting a study on 30 corporations to measure their integrity, and thereby promote ethical management.
Driven by the nongovernmental organization, some 200 domestic companies are participating in the United Nations Global Compact, a policy initiative for businesses to adhere to the 10 universally accepted principles regarding human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
TI Korea has also prodded public institutions to join integrity pacts for transparent governance. In 2005, the public sector signed the Korean Pact on Anti-corruption and Transparency (KPACT) to fight corruption in officialdom.
“We are anticipating that the pledge signing will be an important initiative for parliamentarians to show continuous interest in anti-corruption issues and push ahead with policies to combat it,” said Kim. “Hopefully the pledge will serve as a model for the administration, the corporate sector and society as a whole,” he added.