Pacific Parliamentary Seminar to enhance MPs Committee Work

Apr 10, 2017

Delegates from nine Pacific Parliaments at the Pacific Parliamentary Seminar on Enhancing Committee Work in Suva, Fiji (Photo: UNDP/Setaita Tavanabola)

Suva, Fiji – Over forty delegates from nine Pacific Parliaments are gathering in Suva this week to take part in the Pacific Parliamentary Seminar on Enhancing Committee Work.

The seminar was conceived in the wake of extensive consultations with Members of Parliament (MPs) and senior staff of the national parliaments of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and the Cook Islands, which returned repeated calls for professional development opportunities on committee work. To meet this demand, and with a view to harnessing the potential of south-south exchanges in the region, the seminar brings together a select group of committee Chairs, deputy Chairs and clerks from the Pacific to explore common challenges facing committee operations.  

In opening the workshop, Honourable Dr Jiko Luveni, Speaker of the Fiji Parliament, spoke on the challenges facing parliaments. 

“Our parliaments play a key role in furthering critical development priorities for the people of the Pacific, but they must do so with limited staff and resources.

“Our MPs are asked to consider policies and papers that tackle everything from NCDs to gender-based violence and climate change, but we often lack the in-house expertise to offer the scrutiny and support they require. In addition, most of the parliaments present here cover huge territories, representing citizens in remote parts of the Pacific,” said Hon. Dr. Luveni.  

The seminar offers an opportunity for MPs to turn to their neighbouring parliaments and examine what is working well and what can be improved and developed in their Parliaments. The seminar will allow them to explore the role of committees as well as the nuts and bolts of committee work in each parliament.  

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Osnat Lubrani encouraged delegates to embrace the opportunity presented by this Seminar.

“Effective and innovative approaches have been adopted by each of the institutions represented here today. Your participation confirms your commitment to engage with each other, learn from each other, and look for solutions to the common challenges you face. I have no doubt that the seminar will help you dig deeper into what makes committees tick, and will leave you with new ideas and inspiration to take forward in your respective institutions.  

She added, “We are honoured to have Hon. Senator Mark Wade from Trinidad and Tobago with us this week. This is another milestone in our south-south exchanges and I trust his participation will prove invaluable.”  

Delegates from Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands are in attendance.  

This event is organised under the auspices of the UNDP Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI), the Fiji Parliament Support Project and the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji’s regional programme, with the support of the Governments of New Zealand and Australia. 

Contact information

Setaita Tavanabola, Communications and Knowledge Management Associate, Tel: (679) 3227 523; email: setaita.tavanabola@undp.org

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