Korea’s rights agency receives UN award
By Kim Susan Se-jeong
The Korean anti-corruption agency received recognition from the United Nations for excellence in public service at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Monday.
The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), headed by Kim Young-ran, ranked first in the United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) for preventing and combating corruption in public service institutions, coming out on top out of 1,344 anti-corruption systems from public sectors around the world.
Assistant Chairperson Kim Sang-sik received the award at the ceremony on behalf of the ACRC from Sha Zukang, under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, at the U.N. General Assembly Hall.
The ACRC was launched in February 2008 through a merger of three government committees _ the Ombudsman of Korea, the Korea Independent Commission against Corruption (KICAC) and the Administrative Appeals Commission. It is aimed at helping create a “transparent government and clean society” by protecting the rights of citizens.
The state-run agency has received praise for its initiatives to design, build and implement an elaborate system of evaluating the corruption rate of institutions through comprehensive surveys.
“The systematic excellence of the ACRC’s evaluation, which calculates the corruption rate through objective and scientific assessment, has received international recognition,” said Kim on receiving the international award.
In its first year in 2002, KICAC, which was later integrated into the ACRC, carried out a transparency survey and evaluation on 71 institutions. In under a decade, the ACRC has made its name as one of the leading anti-corruption agencies in the nation, evaluating 684 institutions last year.
This year’s awards ceremony is the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Public Service Day and Awards ceremony. About 400 participants attended the ceremony during which they also discussed effective governance and citizen participation.
At the event, the ACRC presented a video introducing its system to measure corruption rates to officials and participants.
According to the anti-corruption agency, this system will later be included in a booklet published by the United Nations as reference by policymakers around the world.
Despite the model’s achievements, Kim added that the system, which surveyed approximately 220,000 citizens and officials last year, will undergo continual upgrades as it needs to account for changes in society.
The agency is currently preparing to conduct the next set of surveys over six months, starting next month until December.
Officials of UNPSA said, through the annual competition, they hope to promote the creativity, professionalism and visibility of public service institutions, ultimately resulting in an effective and responsive public administration.