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Friday 2 October 2020

[UNDP, NPO Joint Press Release]

Honiara, Solomon Islands (29 September): In recognition of the importance to develop new ways of working for the “new normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Secretariat staff of the National Parliament of the Solomon Islands is currently going through a two-day planning workshop, during which parliament staff will reflect on how they can better support Members of Parliament in fulfilling their mandate at a time of crisis, in particular with regard to their relations with constituents.

COVID-19 is going to leave long-lasting consequences on our societies and their communities, and already has a strong impact on the national socio-economic development in every country. Most public and private institutions around the world have made several changes to their operations in order to remain functional during the pandemic.

The initiative of the Solomon Island parliament follows good international practices and provides an interesting experience for the region, highlighting that the strengthening and adaptation of democratic governance and processes to challenges raised by the crisis is crucial.

More than 20 participants which include the clerk and his deputies, the heads of divisions, the committee clerks as well as senior Parliament staff are attending this workshop.

In delivering his address at the opening of the workshop, the Speaker of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Honorable Patteson Oti, highlighted the importance for the legislature to review and chart a plan as they work to modernising its services.

“Modernising the legislature remains constant regardless of external changes,” said Hon. Oti

He added, “As Parliament started to develop and increase its capacity to serve MPs, it is only right that the parliament management systems adapts with it and this two-day workshop allows you to take a fresh look at the needs of Parliament and to develop practical solutions to the new challenges the institution will face in the next three years.”

“We are very grateful to our partners in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of the Governments of Japan and New Zealand for supporting our efforts,” said Hon. Oti.

Over the last decade the National Parliament of Solomon Islands has drastically developed its capacity to support members of Parliament and provide parliamentary services.

Echoing these sentiments, the Country Manager for UNDP Solomon Islands, Berdi Berdiyev, re-affirmed UNDP’s continuing support to the Secretariat as it works on finalising its corporate plan.

“Globally, UNDP provides parliamentary development support to more than 60 Parliaments around the world in the recognition of the central role that they play in democratic governance and supporting national action towards sustainable human development,” said Berdiyev.

“Going forward, Parliament’s Corporate Plan will be the key planning document for your work as parliamentary secretariat, detailing your monitoring and accountability processes, your risk profile and performance framework. I understand it will also factor in key enabling mechanisms for your operations under COVID 19 and future crisis like tropical cyclones, flooding and tsunamis,” said Berdiyev.

He added, “In that regard, whether you work within Parliament for Committees, ICT, Hansard, or whether you provide research support to MPs, or are in the public outreach or media teams, you will all have equally a critical role to play in driving people-centered development that is reflective of, and responsive to, the needs of the Solomon Islanders.”

“Through your direct interaction with the Honourable Members, your advice and day to day support, you play a part in ensuring their leadership and decisions are accountable, inclusive, participatory and transparent. All these are necessary to achieve sustainable development for all Solomon Islanders,” said Berdiyev.

The support of UNDP has been made possible through the Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI-II) project funded by the Government of New Zealand and the Strengthening Legislatures in Pacific Island Countries (SLIP) funded by the Government of Japan.