Training Boosts Role of Parliamentary Committee Chairs and their Deputies

Feb 27, 2018

Chairpersons and Deputies of the 17 Permanent Committees of the Papua New Guinea Parliament at the capacity and knowledge building workshop (Photo: UNDP/Luisa Senibulu)

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea - The Chairpersons and Deputies of the 17 Permanent Committees of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Parliament, are currently engaged in a two-day capacity and knowledge building workshop that aims to enhance their work in Parliament.   

Designed as a south-south learning opportunity, resource persons include Chairs of parliamentary Committees from Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago as well as a senior committee clerk of the New Zealand Parliament. 

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Deputy Speaker for the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea, Honourable Jeffery Komal, highlighted the value and the relevancy of the training as it helps to equip the Parliament Committee Chairpersons and their deputies in carrying out their role. 

“Parliamentary Committees are established under Section 118 of the PNG constitution; they are small groups of members working on specific areas of public policy or institutional issues. As such, they are the real “workhorses” of Parliament,” said Hon. Komal. 

“Among other roles, the Committee consults citizens and stakeholders by holding public hearings on important topical and development matters, and report opinions and concerns to Parliament when it sits.” 

“Capacity building opportunities such as this two-day workshop will allow Members to keep abreast of latest development trends and learn from other Parliaments policies and procedures that allow the smooth running of Committees.” 

He added, “we are very grateful to our colleagues and resource persons from the Parliaments of Fiji, Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand as well as development partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of New Zealand.” 

The New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, Sue Mackwell, speaking at the two-day workshop (Photo: UNDP/Luisa Senibulu)

The New Zealand High Commissioner to PNG, Sue Mackwell, echoed the sentiments of the Hon. Speaker by highlighting the value of mutual learning and solution sharing through this south-south collaboration. 

“Capacity building for Members of Parliament helps to build skills and knowledge around policies and development issues that contributes to the improvement of the work of Parliament,” said Mackwell. 

“With a legislature that effectively performs its constitutional mandate, citizens are heard, effective laws are enacted and governments are held accountable for their action; and this accountability benefits the functioning of the political system, the quality of democracy and the ability to curb corruption.” 

The UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in PNG, Tracy Vienings, added, “without effective, well-functioning and responsive committees, the overall capacity of Parliament to function suffers.”

“It is essential that chairpersons are knowledgeable about how parliament committee systems work, have good understanding of the subject area covered and generally possess good leadership skills to be able to build rapport and cooperation amongst committee members.”  

“Similarly, committee clerks play a vital role: they support procedural and administrative needs of a committee as well as provide factual up-to-date analysis on technical matters to promote committee effectiveness,” said Vienings. 

She added, “UNDP is supporting one in three parliaments around the world in their efforts to build inclusive and participative political institutions, with a focus on building the capacities of members of Parliament and parliamentary secretariats, to discharge their constitutional, law-making, oversight and representation mandates in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).” 

The training for Committee Chairs and Deputy Chairs is part of a programme of support by the Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI) implemented by the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji with funding support from the Government of New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). 

The UNDP PPEI is a three-year programme implemented in collaboration with the Parliaments of Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, focusing on a number of areas including improving procedures and processes in Parliament and building the capacity of Members of Parliaments and Secretariat staff.

Contact information

Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. E: jone.raqauqau@undp.org, P: (679) 3227 552, M: (679) 9936 744  

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