The Korea Herald


Global ombudsman conference to be held in PyeongChang

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : May 15, 2017 - 15:11

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The 2017 Global Ombudsman Conference will be held at the main convention center in Alpensia Resort in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, from Tuesday to Friday to map out development and the future of the ombudsmen alliance in Asia.

This year’s four-day biannual event, co-hosted by South Korea’s Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission and the Gangwon Province Ombudsman, will be attended by 400 local and international guests, including leaders of the Asian Ombudsman Association and International Ombudsman Institution. Local ambassadors and field experts will also participate in the meetings.

The 16th Asian Ombudsman Association Board of Directors meeting was held in Seoul in 2014. (Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission) The 16th Asian Ombudsman Association Board of Directors meeting was held in Seoul in 2014. (Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission)

The AOA was founded in 1996 upon the IOI’s suggestion to establish a separate regional body in Asia. The PyeongChang conference will highlight 20 years of partnership among 35 watchdog headquarters in 21 member countries.

The global workshop includes four different sessions led by heads of ombudsman agencies in Asia focusing on the role of the global committees that advocate the interest of the public.

Sung Yung-hoon, the chief of South Korea’s Anti-corruption commission said, “The ombudsman spirit based on in-depth understanding of the public need should be always pursued.” Sung was promoted as a board member of the IOI in 2016 to represent the Asian body of the committee.

South Korea’s anti-corruption body plans to dedicate a session to promote its electronic civil petition handling system called, “e-People,” designed to mediate smoother communication between civilians and the government. Main functions include digital processing of civil complaints, suggestions and other documents filed by civilians.

A report by the anti-corruption committee showed that the number of petitions filed by South Korean citizens through e-People increased from 402,442 to 2,307,198 in 2016, over the course of 10 years.

The online governmental program -- which launched its pilot version in 2005 -- received a UN Public Service Award in 2011. It was exported to Tunisia on a UN official development assistance project in 2015 and the collaboration with the Indonesian government is currently underway.

South Korea’s state-run watchdog committee oversees all matters related to the nation’s anti-graft law, also known as the Kim Young-ran Act, which took effect in September. Kim, whom the act is named after, is a former ACRC chief and the author of the law.

The schedule also includes a tour of Gangwon Province to promote regional assets ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Guests will receive a chance to visit Olympic-related venues such as a ski jumping slope and the Olympic Park located in the adjacent city of Gangneung. Local cuisine will also be offered during the tour.

By Jung Min-kyung (