APEC is a regional economic forum, established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence in the Asia-Pacific region. The forum has 21 member economies and is designed to strengthen regional trade and facilitate and liberalize investments. APEC’s goal is to increase economic growth and prosperity of the region as well as to consolidate the Asia-Pacific community. Russia joined APEC in 1998.
Considering the fact that APEC is not a conventional international organization, it has not a rigid organization structure or a formal leader. The agenda of the APEC summit is defined by the host country that holds the chair of the forum for one year. In 2021 APEC was hosted by New Zeland, in 2022 by Thailand and in 2023 it is USA that holds the chair. Although, it has a permanent secretariat responsible for providing advisory services and logistical support. The APEC secretariat is in Singapore.
The anti-corruption issues within APEC are addressed by the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Experts Working Group (ACTWG), firstly as an Anti-Corruption Task Force, established in 2004, which status was upgraded to a Working Group in 2011. The ACTWG holds its plenary meetings twice a year. The reference documents that define the major items of the APEC anti-corruption agenda are the APEC Transparency Standards and the following document, adopted by the leaders at the 12th summit in 2004:
- Santiago Commitment to Fight Corruption and Ensure Transparency;
- АРЕС Course of Action on Fighting Corruption and Ensuring Transparency, adopted as a follow-up to the Santiago Commitment.
The ACTWG also facilitates the implementation of the UN Convention against corruption by its States parties and of the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption, adopted in 2015.
In 2013-2014 the ACTWG established the Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcements Agencies that deals not only with sharing best practices in investigations and prosecutions of corruption, but also advances pragmatic international cooperation in the investigation of such cases.
APEC does not have a mechanism for evaluating the efforts of its member economies in countering corruption. However, the ACTWG in its plenary meetings addresses the results of the implementation of the projects funded by APEC as well as the best practices of its member economies in countering corruption.