Port Vila, Vanuatu — Members of the Vanuatu Parliament underwent a two-day capacity building training to boost their knowledge on the National Budget cycle as well as build on their capacity to analyse and adopt the annual Appropriation Bill.
The capacity for members of Parliament in analyzing and connecting the work on budget with national priorities laid down in the National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP), is crucial in their role to providing oversight for government, as law-makers and as people’s representatives.
Speaking to participants at the training, the Speaker for the Parliament of Vanuatu, Hon. Esmon Simon, reiterated the significant role members of Parliament play in overall development.
“This workshop is very important and will contribute to improve the capacity of members of Parliament to carry out their role and mandate,” said Hon. Simon.
He added, “while allowing us to refresh our knowledge on the NSDP and its relation to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), the workshop will also help us as Members of Parliament to read, understand and better debate the 2018 budget in a few weeks time.”
The sentiments made by the Hon. Speaker was reiterated by the Acting Director for the Department of Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC) under the Government of Vanuatu, John Ezra.
“It is a very important workshop that will help us at the Department for Strategic Policy Planning and Aid Coordination to better interact with Members of Parliament on the fundamental issue which is the NSDP”.
Support provided through UNDP to Parliaments contributes to implementation of the SDGs which in turn strengthens capacity of MPs to fulfil their mandate, especially regarding the role of Parliament in the Public Financial Management Cycle.
According to the Auditory General for the Republic of Vanuatu, Caleb Sandy, the two-day training also provided an important opportunity to strengthen the link between the Auditor General’s office and that of the Public Account Committee of Parliament.
“The Vanuatu National Audit Office seeks to strengthen its collaboration with its stakeholders, importantly the Public Account Committee of Parliament, to enhance the quality and effectiveness of its audit and other reporting responsibilities for the benefit of the public, the citizens and the taxpayers.”
He added, “this workshop is a great opportunity to that end.”
“Vanuatu must be commended for spearheading the localization efforts of the SDGs in the Pacific region: the country has translated the 2030 Agenda into its NSDP 2016-2030 and its monitoring and evaluation framework,” said Parliament Specialist with the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Jean-Raphael Giuliani.
“Members of Parliament play a central role in two major governance processes, understood as the two sides of the same coin: strategic development planning, through Parliament’s contribution to the National Sustainable Development Plan and its implementation, and the budget cycle which brings the plan into life”, said Giuliani.
The two-day training is part of a set of activities that were requested by the Speaker and the Clerk of Parliament.
The UNDP has been working with Pacific parliaments to strengthen their capacity for many years; in particular, to support their law-making, oversight and representative functions as well as strengthening the general capacity of Parliament Secretariats. In the Pacific, UNDP has been working to strengthen the capacities of legislatures in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Palau, Kiribati, PNG including Bougainville and Republic of Marshall Islands.