Nadi, Fiji – Representative of Legislatures of five Pacific countries and territories agreed to continue regional cooperation for strengthening legislative performance.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under its Strengthening Legislatures’ in Pacific Island Countries (SLIP) project, convened a regional strategy meeting in Nadi affording countries the opportunity to reflect on the progress of implementation under the project. And to strategise future interventions that ensures effective and efficient operations of their respective parliaments in serving their citizens.
Now in its third and final year of implementation, the SLIP project is holding bilateral meetings and regional learning and exchanges with the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu through this three-day strategy meeting.
The SLIP project is a three-year project implemented by UNDP and funded by the Government of Japan. It focuses on providing support to strengthen the work of legislatures and their committees related to legislation and oversight.
“In the process of just talking to the countries represented here this week, I have found the exchange vital for strengthening Pacific parliaments,” said Speaker of the 35th Guam Legislature, Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes at the closing of the strategy meeting.
“Therefore, it is that much more important that we continue to come together with these types of meetings so we can learn from one another, strategize, and find solutions that each of our islands have for dealing with similar situations.
“By empowering ourselves, prioritizing our needs as island people, we truly will build resilient island communities.”
She added, “We are very grateful to UNDP and the Government of Japan for convening this meeting.”
To achieve the aims of developing well-functioning modern Parliaments, the project primarily focuses on working with Members of Parliaments (MPs) and parliamentary staff to increase their abilities and support the upskilling of parliament committees, which are considered instrumental in driving legislative oversight.
Some of the activities achieved through the project include trainings, staff exchanges, developing manuals, helping draft standard operating procedures, undertaking needs assessments, facilitating civil society organisations and citizen engagement, ensuring the inclusion of minority and marginalised groups particularly women and youth.
“The SLIP strategy meeting affords participants with an opportunity to review the activities of the preceding year and plan for the upcoming year,” said Parliamentary Development Specialist for UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji, Jean-Raphael Giuliani.
“With so many important discussions during the meeting, we agreed on concrete regional activities and technical assistance, which will help us achieve the project’s objective for the year and go a long way in strengthening legislative capacities in the region,” he added.
This will help the countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goal 16 of building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels by 2030.
The meeting featured exchange from the parliaments of Fiji, the Solomon Islands, the Congress of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Guam Legislature.
The three-day meeting was held from Tuesday, 26 February to Friday, 28 February 2020.
For more information:
Jone Tuiipelehaki Raqauqau, Communications Associate – Effective Governance Team. E: firstname.lastname@example.org, P: (679) 3227 552.