Signing marks Agreement of Support to Tuvalu Parliament

23 Sep 2010

(Suva, Fiji) – An agreement to support the Government of Tuvalu’s Support to Parliament project was today signed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the British High Commission in Fiji. The project marks the need for assistance in parliamentary development as has been highlighted by the Government of Tuvalu as one of its four priority areas.

The UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Knut Ostby and the British High Commissioner to Fiji, Mac McLachlan signed the agreement at the British High Commission in Suva today. Also present to witness the signing was the Tuvalu High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr Aunese Simati. 

The British High Commissioner, Mr McLachlan said he is pleased that the British Government is working together with the UNDP on this project to help strengthen the Parliament of Tuvalu. 

“In addition, the civic education component of this project is equally exciting as it will generate more public interest in parliamentary governance and encourage participatory decision making at national and local levels.”  Mr McLachlan said following Tuvalu’s general elections last week, the timing of the project could not be better.  He said that the UK's support for this project demonstrates its continued interest and support for Tuvalu's development.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Ostby said the initiative is timely because the Project will provide technical and resource support to the highest legislative decision making body in the country. “This will involve partnerships not only between the Government of Tuvalu and UNDP but with other development partners that are supporting democratic governance in the country, one of which, we have witnessed today,” he added.

This initiative forms a component of the UNDP’s programme in Good Governance, an area that is also featured in Tuvalu’s Te Kakeega II or National Development Strategy.

The activities for the Project will include the establishment of a Parliament website, an information management system, an Induction workshop for members following the recent elections, development of a Handbook for Members of Parliament, organizing radio programmes and school outreach programmes as well as training and orientation for the Clerk and Parliament staff on management guidelines and tools.

Mr Ostby thanked the British High Commission for their support and said the Project will further contribute towards improving peoples' understanding of the democratic systems, institutions and processes used in the country. 

The longer term aim of this Project is to ensure that capacity is mainstreamed and developed in the Parliamentary Offices and that Members of Parliament and the public understand their roles and responsibilities in promoting national good governance. The project also aims to ensure that the Parliament Secretariat provides efficient and effective support to the Parliamentarians and constituents and the public is aware of the exercises its democratic rights.