Bakhodir Burkhanov: Launching of the Fiji Parliament Website and Mobile App

May 22, 2017

Honorable Speaker, Dr. Jiko Luveni;

Honorable Ministers and Members of Parliament;

Representatives from the European Union and the diplomatic missions of Australia, New Zealand and Japan:

Ni sa bula Vinaka, Namaste and Assalamu Aleykum to you all!

Firstly, congratulations to you, Honorable Speaker, and to the entire Fiji Parliament on another landmark in opening up of Parliament’s work with the launch of the new Parliament Website and Mobile App. I have been privileged to witness some of these milestones. This year alone, the Parliament has launched its Handbook, the Gender Toolkit and the Parliamentary Educational Resources for Schools.

Today’s event is about open and transparent access to parliamentary information. I hope that the website and the mobile app launched today become one of the primary channels for the parliament to communicate, share information and engage with the Fijian people.

Globally, ‘open data’ has emerged as a key area of focus for parliaments and parliamentarians, reflecting a shift in the ways lawmakers relate to the public. Citizens are no longer passive recipients of information from parliament, their MPs and the media, but are involved participants, drawing on the information that is made available by parliament and interacting with their elected representatives. 

It is, indeed, a two-way street and information technology makes people-to-parliament connections easier. Citizens no longer need to physically attend parliament to interact with MPs. With the launch of the new website and the mobile app, information about the parliament is just a click away – the Fijian people can watch parliament live on their phones, tablets or computers from any location in Fiji or around the world. These tools provide a good foundation for transparent and responsive parliamentary function in Fiji, including new features such as direct citizen feedback to an MP or a Committee.

At UNDP, through the Fiji Parliament Support Project, we remain committed to supporting the institution of parliament and making it more open and accessible to the people. Our support for the development of the website and mobile App would not have been possible without the generous support from our donors from Phase 1 of the project: the European Union and the Governments of New Zealand, Japan and Australia. I thank them for their support to the Fiji Parliament, and am glad that they are here with us today for this launch.

Once again, congratulations to Honorable Speaker and to all MPs on today’s launch. Many thanks for your time; I will not speak for any longer to allow you to get nutrition to keep your energy levels up, so that there are more robust exchanges in the chamber this afternoon!

Thank you and best wishes to all.

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