Strengthening the Fight against Corruption and Illicit Trade
APEC Pathfinder Dialogue II
Partnerships for Sustainable Security
Cebu City, the Philippines | August 26, 2015
In Cebu City during APEC SOM III, the Philippines and U.S. Government co-hosted the Pathfinder Dialogue II on Combating Corruption and Illicit Trade across the Asia-Pacific Region. Over 120 delegates from APEC, ASEAN, and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) shared proven methods to combat the harmful role of corruption in human trafficking, illegal logging, wildlife trafficking, and illicit fisheries. The Dialogue was chaired by U.S. Pathfinder II Coordinator, David M. Luna, Senior Director for National Security and Diplomacy, INL, U.S. Department of State. Keynote speakers included The Honorable Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, Chair, APEC Anti-Corruption Working Group, Mr. Eric W. Kneedler, Political Counselor, U.S. Embassy, the Philippines, His Excellency Thinn Maung, Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Myanmar, The Honorable Greg Hunt MP, Minister for the Environment, Australia (via video) with Assistant Secretary Lyndall Hoitink, and the Undersecretary for Fisheries, Mr. Asis D. Perez, the Philippines. Delegates included members of the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Working Group (ACT), the Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT), the Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG), the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy (PPWE), and a range of international and non-governmental organizations. The American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) supported the Pathfinder Dialogue.
Pathfinder panelists presented on case studies, lessons learned, and best practices to combat corruption in both human and natural capital, including illicit supply chains, and risks at source, transit and destination points. Delegates described powerful countermeasures to combat corruption risks—using the law enforcement and anti-corruption tools embodied in the UN Convention against Corruption and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Participants noted that combating corrupt and criminal illicit trade networks also facilitates legitimate trade and economic growth across the Asia-Pacific region.
The Pathfinder Dialogue produced a clear set of strategies to combat illicit trafficking and trade, particularly (i) the need for a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary national teams, including public-private partnership efforts; (ii) corruption risk assessment and intelligence sharing; (iii) effective use of systems to detect money laundering and asset forfeiture and seizure; (iv) analysis of technology, including social media and other communication networks to identify the true extent of criminal organisations; (v) strong international cooperation, including intelligence sharing, with coordinated support for investigations and prosecutions; and (vi) effective care and protection for victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers. Pathfinder sponsors will be working in the coming months to formulate targeted follow-up activities to assist law enforcement and anti-corruption practitioners to put Pathfinder strategies into action.
In cooperation with the American Bar Association, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held a roundtable discussion the following day to further examine the role of corruption in human trafficking. Participants reviewed advanced draft principles to combat corruption in human trafficking, which will be used to guide future law enforcement and anti-corruption programming.
Pathfinder participants called for strong leadership for continued action in 2016 and beyond to strengthen the fight against corruption in human trafficking, wildlife trafficking, illegal logging and fisheries. Guided by the APEC ACT five-year strategic plan, and APEC Leaders’ call for action, Pathfinder activities in 2016 will continue to support APEC’s agenda to build a better world and promote sustainable economic growth and development through shared prosperity. By strengthening international cooperation across borders, sectors, and industries, APEC and Pathfinder sponsors are committed to nurturing “cultures of integrity” across Asia-Pacific economies, markets, and supply chains, through a spirit of active engagement and partnerships for sustainable security.