Limitations on policies, public financial management, law making and legal affairs, limited citizen outreach and demand for accountability are some of the issues behind the development of the Palau Local Governance Strengthening Project.
The Government of Palau in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji this week launched the project to address these challenges that were findings of an initial scoping assessment undertaken earlier this year.
President of the Republic of Palau, H.E Tommy Remengesau Jr., said in his opening remarks at the official launch, “The Government of Palau definitely believes in strengthening the capacities of State Governments to ensure improvements in accountability, transparency and good governance in the management of state finances, human resources and other resources.”
“The project strongly reflects the Government’s commitment to creating an environment of responsible governance for responsive service delivery at the State Government level for their citizens”, said H.E. Remengesau.
The project will be implemented with direct support from the Ministry of State’s Bureau of Domestic Affairs and it will support four pilot states, which are Aimeliik, Melekeok, Ngeremlengui and Kayangel. The project will also build the capacity of the Bureau of Domestic Affairs, which will then extend its assistance to 16 other states.
Minister of State, Hon. Billy Kuartei said in his opening statement, “We are thankful to UNDP for our collaboration on this very instrumental project which is going to help us bring more effectiveness and enhance governance in everything we do within the scope of local state governance in Palau”.
The Palau Local Governance Strengthening Project is one of the first projects under the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji to receive Government Cost Sharing funds for implementation.
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Effective Governance Team Leader, Dyfan Jones said, “UNDP is privileged to support the Government of Palau in its vision for people-centered development as a full-fledged Middle-Income Country.
He added, “The Government’s contribution of state budget to this initiative signifies a new model of our partnership with countries that have attained higher human development ranking.”
The Inception workshop opened on the 10th of October and included sessions for key national government departments, State Governors, Speakers and Deputy Speakers, traditional chiefs, representatives of civil society organisations representing women’s groups and development partners covering issues such as how the functions of States could be improved for better service delivery to the public.
Also present at the opening was UNDP Asia and the Pacific’s Regional Advisor on Local Governance and Decentralisation, Patrick Duong who reiterated their commitment to the project.
“While the project focuses on local governance, its overall aim is to enhance the capacity of local states to perform more efficiently and to strengthen the social contract between the local states and their constituents,” said Duong.
“We will also work with local communities, to encourage citizens, particularly women and youth, to participate in local decision-making and contribute to local development plans and implementation of the SDGs”.
The meeting continues until the 18th of October and includes an induction on the roles and functions of State governors, legislators, state clerks and finance and administrative staff. It is also expected to feature a training needs assessment to gauge the human resource training needs within the four pilot states under the project.
Emily Moli, UNDP Knowledge Communications Analyst, tel: +679 3227 504; mob: +679 719 1112; email: email@example.com
Setaita Tavanabola, UNDP Communications and Knowledge Management Associate, Tel: +679 3227 523; email: firstname.lastname@example.org