Majuro, Marshall Islands - Members of the Nitijela of Republic of Marshall Islands are now able to advocate and legislate strategically and effectively within the framework of the constitution to advance issues of concern to their constituents and the nation after participating in a 3-day Induction workshop (8 - 10 January) last week.
Following the general elections of December 2007, eight out of the 33 Senators are elected to the Nitijela for the first time.
President Elect of the Republic of Marshall Islands, Honorable Litokwa Tomeing officially opened the Nitijela Induction Workshop for Member of the Nitijela of Republic of Marshall Islands. In his opening address to the Members of Parliament the former Speaker who is now the President elect of RMI congratulated the Senators on their successful election to the Nitijela. He thanked UNDP for organizing the induction workshop, the first ever in the history of the RMI Nitijel and pledged his continued support for UNDP's current Parliamentary project to its conclusion. He also urged the MPs to take advantage of the workshop by using it as an opportunity to dialogue with other MPs and resource persons.
The initiative was jointly developed by the office of the Honorable Speaker and Vice Speaker and the Office of the Clerk to Republic of Marshall Islands Nitijela with technical and financial support from UNDP's Parliamentary support Project in Marshall Islands and UNDP Multi Country Office based in Suva, Fiji. The workshop aimed to increase senators understanding on their representative, legislative and oversight roles. It covered sessions on: Public leadership; Institutions of governance and Law Making; Elections Act and Electoral Reform; Constituency Relationships, Local Governance and Regional Networking; Gender and Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals; The Role of Cabinet and Public Service; Oversight Functions of Parliament; and the Role of Auditor General and Performance Based Budgeting.
The workshop was delivered using a mixture of participatory and interactive methods, creating space for senators to maximize their contribution to discussions. All sessions were chaired by the newly elected Vice Speaker Senator Alik J. Alik with support of newly elected Speaker Senator Jurelang Zedkaia and was facilitated by highly experienced and qualified team of resource people from the region including Professor Don Paterson of USP Law School, Dr Jon Fraenkal, Research Fellow at ANU, Mr Tony Johns, former Secretary to RMI Cabinet (1979 - 1980) and Mr Mose Saitala, Lead Facilitator.
Presenters were also drawn from a pool local resource people including senior public servants and youth and civil society representatives. The workshop is one of the key outputs of UNDP's phase one support to the RMI Nitijela Project.