A newly-released UN report said that corruption in the Asia-Pacific region has the biggest impact on poor people who rely on public services and the natural environment to survive, Lao newspaper Vientiane Times reported Friday.
The Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, titled "Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives" and released by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Lao capital of Vientiane on Thursday, focused on corruption from a human development perspective and the affect it has in limiting poor people's access to education and basic health services.
According to the report, many developing nations in the Asia- Pacific region are rich in natural resources, but due to corruption, much of the national wealth is being drained away.
Companies may bribe public officials to obtain permits to log endangered tree species or log in protected areas, it said.
The report suggested the nations should be actively seeking ways to reduce all forms of corruption.
They could make immediate progress by identifying and dealing with some of the worst areas, whether in health services, education or in public utilities said the report.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Laos, Sonam Yangchen Rana, said corruption often led to funding shifting away from priority areas such as poverty reduction to projects where bribes and kickbacks were more readily available.
"There is broad agreement in Laos that good governance is essential to achieving sustainable development.
One of the most critical elements in fighting corruption is to ensure strong, timely and transparent enforcement of the law," she said.