On August 19-20, 2017, the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), in coordination with the U.S. and Vietnamese governments, organized the fourth Pathfinder Dialogue on “Combating Corruption and Illicit Trade across the Asia-Pacific Region” during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) third Senior Officials Meeting in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Co-hosted by the Vietnamese and U.S. governments, the conference invited more than 100 participants to share proven methods to combat the harmful role of corruption in illegal logging and wildlife trafficking. Participants represented APEC member economies’ delegations to the APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency Working Group and the APEC Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and international organizations.
Pathfinder panelists provided examples of the role corruption plays in illegal logging and wildlife trafficking, recent legal reforms to address the nexus of these issues and key strategies to better combat corruption’s role in these illegal activities. Panelists also highlighted clear strategies for combating corruption in these illicit trades, including seeking out wildlife trafficking NGOs for expertise to assist in corruption investigations involving wildlife trafficking, and using anti-money laundering and other financial investigative techniques to uncover corrupt officials and seize illegal financial gains.
To promote experience-sharing and professional networking among anti-corruption colleagues in APEC economies, the conference invited participants to discuss in small groups their lessons learned on topics including improving cross-national intelligence exchange and regional border enforcement, addressing law enforcement integrity, designing effective training programs for anti-corruption officials, and engaging with private sector financial and transportation companies to enhance anti-corruption and trafficking efforts. Participants also discussed best practices in international cooperation when conducting corruption investigations.
Participating international organizations included the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering and the World Bank. In the coming months, ABA ROLI will formulate targeted follow-up activities to assist law enforcement and anti-corruption practitioners with incorporating Pathfinder strategies into their work. In this process, ABA ROLI will coordinate with and leverage existing efforts by the above-mentioned and other leading organizations and governments. These efforts are part of ABA ROLI’s long-term work to address corruption, especially in the Asia/Pacific region. Through this work, ABA ROLI has provided technical anti-corruption assistance to governments and promoted the maximal use of all available tools and expertise to combat corruption’s wide-ranging damage to lawful economic activity and to the rule of law.
To learn more about our work in Asia and the Pacific, please contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org.