The APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force (ACT) is now operational and preparing its work agenda for the following year.
Following endorsement at the third APEC Senior Officials Meeting for 2005 today in Gyeongju, the task force has confirmed the core operational principles that will guide activities and set its meeting schedule for 2006.
ACT Chair, Dr. Sung-ho Kim, welcomed the high level of officials attending the first meeting and highlighted the challenges they now face.
"The delegates representing APEC Member Economies at the ACT are the heart and soul of the anti-corruption community," Dr Kim said in Gyeongju.
"These people have all been involved in the global combat against corruption and have made substantial contributions to APEC's efforts to fight corruption and ensure transparency.
"In the face of increased sophistication and globalization of corruption, the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Task Force will undertake strong measures to eliminate the evils of corruption.
"Our task force meets with the aim of sharing insights and wisdom to tackle corruption at the source."
The core operational principles set by the task force include ensuring that: leadership is provided by Member Economies in guiding the ACT agenda, stakeholders are consulted on significant issues, activities should be enhanced through the development of regional information networks, and examples of anti-corruption activities in Member Economies are to be shared between ACT Members.
The ACT will initially share information on anti-corruption strategies currently underway in the region and then initiate capacity-building measures to strengthen anti-corruption policies. These are expected to cover areas such as measures to deny safe haven to corrupt individuals and to facilitate asset recovery and extradition. Officials at the ACT meeting also expressed the need to use information technology and undertake educational campaigns to pursue the objectives of the task force.
The Task Force will now meet twice yearly beginning in February to approve the ACT 2006 work schedule and then in September to report on the progress before a final report is presented to APEC Leaders and Ministers in November.
The ACT meeting was held following the 2005 APEC Anti-Corruption & Transparency Symposium in Seoul on September 1-2. This was attended by more than 400 delegates and experts from APEC Member Economies and international organizations.