Honiara, Solomon Islands – The third regional Political Parties Conference is currently underway in Honiara, Solomon Islands to develop broad outreach strategies that will engage youth, women and minority groups.
The two-day conference is organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, with support from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).
In his opening address, the UNDP Country Manager for Solomon Islands Office, Mr Berdi Berdiyev stressed the important role political parties play in a country’s long-term development.
“Without stable and well-organised parties, governments are not on a solid footing, which impacts on long-term development and planning required for sustainable development,” said Berdiyev.
He added, “Building on the discussions in 2017 and 2018 Regional Conferences for Political Parties, a theme that constantly emerged was the challenges faced by many Pacific countries in creating or strengthening political parties to ensure they are national in their reach with a broad and an equal representation of membership and support.”
“Therefore, this regional conference builds on the discussions of inclusiveness by focusing on topics related to engaging youth, women and minority groups in the structures and membership of political parties in the Pacific,” said Berdiyev.
The conference is attended by political party representatives from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), women often have less access than men to resources needed to successfully seek a party nomination or stand in an election, and political parties tend to nominate men to winnable positions.
International IDEA further finds that the global average for women’s representation in parliaments was 24 per cent in January 2019. Political parties are identified as responsible for women’s underrepresentation given their role as the main gatekeepers of elected decision-making positions in most countries.
Also speaking at the opening, the Director Regional Programme - Australia and the Pacific for KAS, Dr Beatrice Gorawantschy highlighted the need for targeted interventions that will advance gender equality issues in party policies and platforms.
“The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Foundation) is globally committed to strengthening democratic structures and establishing democratic party systems. In collaboration with our partners on site, we wish to contribute to developing value-oriented, programmatically sound and welfare-oriented democratic parties.”
She added, “Only democratically-oriented parties can succeed in consolidating democracy. In this respect intra party democracy in the sense of the possibility of participation for specific groups within a party (for example, women and youth) has to be strengthened.”
The aim of the conference is to promote and stimulate debate on the inclusiveness of political parties in the Pacific. The conference is supported by the Governments of Australia, Japan and New Zealand Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Australia), a political foundation from the Federal Republic of Germany.
The conference ends on Thursday 19 September 2019.
For more information:
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance Team, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. E: firstname.lastname@example.org, T: (679) 3227 552.