Tarawa, Kiribati – Members of the Maneaba ni Maungatabu (Kiribati House of Assembly) underwent a three-day induction programme, designed to equip new and returning members with key skills related to the work and role of parliament.

Following the election of the House in April 2020, 45 members of the Kiribati House of Assembly were elected. Out of these, 17 members are holding office for the first time. Also joining the house are four first time female members, increasing the female representation in the house to 8.7 percent, compared to only six percent in 2017.

The induction programme was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji and focused on key areas such as professional development of MPs and staff, the improvement of Committees’ legislative and oversight work, and support to parliamentary outreach and citizen engagement roles.

Delivering her closing address at the workshop, the Speaker of the Kiribati House of Assembly, Honourable Madam Tangariki Reete, acknowledged the importance of the induction as a programme that will enable MPs to carry out their role more efficiently.

“I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that these last three days have been intensive, engaging but most of all very comprehensive and productive. I am confident that what we have covered throughout this programme has been informative and educational to us all and especially to our newly elected Members of Parliament”, said Honourable Reete.

 “I am exceptionally overwhelmed by the level of participation, interaction and exchange of ideas that members have engaged in during the course of the workshop”, she added.

 “We are very grateful to our development partners in UNDP and the government of New Zealand for their support. The support attributed by your organization and staff is a reiteration of your relentless effort to support us to effectively perform our roles and responsibilities as parliamentarians.”

Speaker of the Kiribati House of Assembly, Honourable Madam Tangariki Reete (Photo: Parliament of Kiribati)
Members of the Maneaba ni Maungatabu present at the Induction. (Photo: Parliament of Kiribati)
Hon. Ribwanataake Awira, Member of Parliament from Nikunau and Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development (Photo: Parliament of Kiribati)

The Hon. Reete is also the first female in the history of Kiribati to be elected Speaker of the Kiribati House of Assembly. In the Pacific, the Kiribati parliament is currently the second legislature to have a woman Presiding Officer, and therefore represents a positive change and an inspiration for other parliaments in the region.

Commenting on the induction programme, the Clerk of the Kiribati House of Assembly, Mr Eni Tekanene, said “I am grateful to the members of parliament for their active participation and engagement in all sessions. I very much hope that your expectations of a positive and constructive deliberation were met. I also believe that valuable contributions that the induction programme made would further improve our systems and processes as decision makers for the people of Kiribati.”

 “The Secretariat team worked hard to make this induction programme possible. I thank them all for their tireless efforts and contributions”, he added.

Delivering his address via teleconference due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Deputy Resident Representative a.i., Kevin Petrini, congratulated the MPs in their successful election as well as the positive increase in women representation in the Assembly. 

“All branches of the State need to cooperate in developing and deploying quick and appropriate response measures, while respecting and maintaining the separation and balance of powers,” said Petrini.

“It is also an opportunity for us to congratulate Kiribati as a country to have organized successful elections despite the looming threats of the pandemic. Such experience sets an example for the region and world that democratic governance is the way to do things, irrespective of challenges arising out of the pandemic”, he added.  

“In 2017, only six percent of the members in the Kiribati parliament were women, but with recent elections, the percent has increased to 8.7 percent. We hope that this trend will be maintained, and we will see more women in the Kiribati parliament in the years to come”, he further commented.  

Petrini added, “Within parliament, it is also important to create more opportunities for women. Parliament could for instance consider appointing more female staff members at senior positions or giving some committee chairpersonships to female MPs.”

The induction for the Kiribati MPs was held from the 12 - 14 August in Tarawa.

For more information:

Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance Team, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. E: jone.raqauqau@undp.org, P: (679) 3227 552 

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