Transparency International (TI) released results of the Global Corruption Barometer for the Asia Pacific region on Tuesday, March 7. The survey collected responses from more than 20,000 citizens of 16 countries in the Asia Pacific region. The survey results highlight that the extent of bribery and corruption in the region hinder progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the survey, more than 900 million people in the region had paid a bribe in the past year when trying to access basic services like education or healthcare. However, the bribery rates vary greatly with Japan at 0.2 percent of citizens paying a bribe in the past year, to 69 percent in India. Bribery affects both men and women about equally, and slightly affects poor and younger citizens more than wealthy and older citizens; however, in some countries wealthier individuals are more likely to be victims of bribery. Among the different services, the police are found to have the highest bribery rates as well as corruption levels.
Two in five people thought the level of corruption had increased. The highest response was among citizens from China, where the level was at nearly three quarters of those surveyed. In Thailand, only 14 percent of respondents believed corruption had increased. Half of the people in the region said their government was doing a bad job at fighting corruption.
Significantly, the survey found that few victims of bribery are likely to report it, citing fear of retaliation as the most common reason for failure to report. Out of those who said they have paid a bribe, only seven percent said they reported it to the authorities. In order to increase reporting of corruption, the survey recommends that legislatures adopt legislation to protect whistleblowers based on international standards. The report also recommends that anti-corruption agencies implement outreach programs to encourage people to report corruption and ensure better reporting mechanisms.
TI called on heads of state to speak out to assert their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce bribery and corruption by 2030. Other recommended actions included full implementation of the UN Convention Against Corruption; implementation of access to information legislation; enhancing a free environment for civil society to operate; and enacting codes of conduct for public workers.
Learn more – download the report: Global Corruption Barometer for the Asia Pacific.