Last week the government of Japan signed a USD$5.2 million agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to upscale its current parliamentary development work and support six Pacific Nations.
Thanks to the programme, the UNDP will provide new support to the Parliaments of Samoa, Republic of Marshall Islands and Federated States of Micronesia, and significantly scale up ongoing support to the Parliaments of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji.
Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni commented on the benefits this could bring for Fiji:
“We are very grateful to the Government of Japan for this support. Our members and our Parliament staff have benefited greatly from previous and existing partnerships with UNDP and the governments of Australia, New Zealand and again, Japan”
“This has allowed our members to build their capacity in examining, dissecting and appropriately addressing national development issues from the broad regional and global context, facilitated through south-south exchanges and technical expertise.”
The programme will focus on building capacity for legislators and parliament staff, support to increase capacity and effectiveness of parliament committees and efforts to mainstream, the Sustainable Development Goals in the parliamaents.
Mr. Tsuguyoshi Hada, Embassy of Japan Charge d’ Affaires ad interim added:
“The Government of Japan provided funding to UNDP to support the Fiji Parliament in 2014-2017, and we are now able to announce that we will not only provide funding to UNDP’s project of support to the Fiji Parliament but also assistance to five other Pacific Parliaments.”
“Japan recognises the important role that Parliaments play in the Pacific through being enablers for development. Legislatures in the Pacific need to be supported in undertaking their important roles”
Japan has been a long-term supporter of the UNDP’s governance work within the Pacific countries having previously supported the Fiji Parliament Support Project and currently supporting the REACH project that provides access to government services to Fijians.
Bakhodir Burkhanov, Country Director and Head of Pacific Regional Programme and Policy for the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji said:
“This strengthened collaboration comes at a moment when Parliaments and Legislatures in the Pacific and globally have started acting on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, which is also at the very core of UNDP’s action worldwide.”
“Building on the success of our past and ongoing partnership in Fiji and with support from other partners, we look forward to working together over the next three years for the benefit of Pacific Islanders across our region. It needs to provide effective oversight of government policy and development progress. Parliaments take the final decisions on national budget allocations and play a central role in scrutinising whether national funds have been spent effectively and correctly.”
The project is called ‘Strengthening Legislators Capacity in the Pacific Island Countries’. Through this the UNDP aims to support Parliaments in becoming more effective and efficient by focusing on capacity development of parliamentary actors.
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Image credit: Bale Dolokoto