WEDNESDAY 5TH FEBRUARY 2014
"Women’s Mock Parliament; a new milestone"
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in close collaboration with the UNDP Pacific Centre, the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Solomon Islands Government in advancing women’s participation in leadership and decision making will conduct a Mock Women Parliament at the National Parliament of Solomon Islands (NPSI) from the 10th – 13th February 2014.
The 4 days training program is aimed to provide participants with necessary skills and knowledge of parliamentary procedures, the Electoral Commission, good governance and parliamentary leadership in Solomon Islands, separation of powers (Executive, Judiciary, Legislative) and Parliamentary Committees to name a few.
A total of 35 women participants throughout the country will part-take in the mock debate of the Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF) and its effectiveness to some essential services such as health, education, rural development & domestic violence.
Participants will have first hand information from various leaders within the Government, the National Parliament Office and representatives from the UNDP in a form of training from Monday to Wednesday before the mock debate on Thursday on a motion on the Constituency Development Fund.
Mr Dyfan Jones, UNDP’sParliamentary Development Specialist based in Suva, Fiji added that “through the convening of the mock parliament session for women, women will receive practical training and tools to help them develop and implement their electoral campaigns and have a better understanding of parliamentary processes which will prepare them for their prospective role as a parliamentarian.”
He believed that since the Pacific region has the lowest proportion of women Parliamentarians in the world this program will enable voters to become more aware about the value of having women in Parliament.
The mock parliament for women in Solomon Islands is part of broader UNDP regional programme.Previously UNDP has assisted National Parliaments to arrange mock parliaments in PNG, Kiribati, Palau and Marshall Islands.
The event is expected to be broadcasted live on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation and TTV.
Parliament passed the 2014 Appropriation Bill 2013 on the eve of Christmas in its third reading.
The 2014 national budget is three billion, three hundred and fifty one million, three hundred and sixty six thousand, and fifty four dollars for the services of the Government in respect of the year 2014.
This was after a lengthy deliberation in the committee of supply on both the recurrent and development estimates and the Bill was passed in the third reading without amendments.
Parliament has authorised a total of $2,135,905,170 for the recurrent expenditure, a total of $584,367,716 for budget support expenditure and a total of $631,093,168 for Development Expenditure; which also includes the total Donor funded Development estimates of $80,000,000.
The Bill seeks to authorize the Government to borrow from external sources
Provisions relating to the issue by the Ministry of Finance and
Following the passing of the 2014 budget, Parliament adjourned sine die.
FRIDAY 6TH DECEMBER
The fifth meeting of the ninth Parliament began yesterday the 5th of December 2013 since it was adjourned Sine Die on the 4th of October 2013.
By practice, end year meetings of parliament which usually occur around November or December, are purposely held for debate and passage of the budget for the New Year. Thus in preparation for this meeting, government presented the 2014 Appropriation Bill 2013 in the form of First Reading on Monday 2nd December 2013 to Parliament.
However, a special adjournment motion was moved by the Prime Minister and passed by the House after the first reading of the 2014 Appropriation Bill 2013 to give time for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to begin its hearings on the Bill.
The swearing in of the new Auditor General, who according to standing order 69(2) is the Secretary to PAC, has enabled the Committee to begin its hearings the same day.
THURSDAY 7 NOVEMBER 2013
A first information workshop on Parliamentary Committees was conducted for public servants and civil societies at National Parliament House Paul Tovua complex on Friday 1st November 2013.
The workshop was facilitated by the National Parliament Committee Secretariat Department through its United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Parliamentary Strengthening Project.
Celsus Talifilu, National Project Manager of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project said the workshop was aimed at facilitating information and understanding between public officers and Civil Society organizations on the work of Parliamentary Committees.
“ Sometimes people do not really understand the purpose of Parliamentary committees and their role in our system of government, therefore, this workshop aimed at bridging that understanding gap so that Parliament becomes meaningful to the lives of people especially those that are engaged with Parliament and in this case the Public Servants and civil societies” Mr Talifilu explained.
Mr Talifilu said it has come to their notice that during hearings or committee activities there are gaps in the understanding and appreciation by the people on the work of Parliamentary committees. Therefore parliament has a duty to reach out to its stakeholders to inform them of the work of the committees and their place in our government system.
“It informs Public Servants and civil societies of the work of Parliamentary committees, the powers and responsibilities they have and some of the activities they are involved in,” he added.
Although attendance by government ministries was low, attendance by civil society organizations was very good. However since this is the first time to conduct such a workshop, Parliament hoped that the ministries will respond positively in future workshops.
Guest presenters during the workshop include Chairman of the Bills and Legislation Committee, Hon Manasseh Sogavare, Chairman of the Education and Human Resources Training Committee, Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka and Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Hon Douglas Ete. There are also presentations by Officers from the Parliamentary Committee Secretariat and the Procedure Office, with support from Rachel Simpson from the New South Wales Parliament and Celsus Talifilu, the National Project Manager of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project.
A feedback form was also distributed for the stakeholders after the workshop.
Mr Talifilu explained that the feedback form will assist Parliament Officers to improve their delivery on the program in the future.
He thanked the participants for showing interest and attending this important workshop and also to the chairs of the Bills and Legislation Committee, the Public Accounts Committee and the Education and Human Resources Training Committee for their informative presentations during the workshop.
THE REPUBLIC OF VANUATU PARLIAMENT WANTS TO BUILD STRONGER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT OF SOLOMON ISLANDS
MONDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2013
The Vanuatu Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Philip Boedoro said he is hoping the Vanuatu Parliament will begin building relations through a twinning program with Solomon Islands Parliament.
Hon. Baedoro said the Vanuatu Parliament is about to go through a reform process similar to what Solomon Islands Parliament is going through, through the support of the UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project. The reason for this visit is to see how work has been carried out in these different institutions, especially in a Melanesian context like Solomon Islands and how the Vanuatu Parliament can go through the same process of reform.
• Hon Nato Taiwia, Member for Efate
Watson Willie, Senior Finance/Accounts Officer of Vanuatu Parliament and CDI’s Warren Cahill also accompanied the delegation.
An Officer from the New South Wales Parliament, Rachel Simpson who has assisted the work of Committees at the National Parliament Office through the twinning partnership program between New South Wales Parliament and the Solomon Islands Parliament was also farewelled during the dinner to welcome the Vanuatu Speaker’s delegation.
WEDNESDAY 16TH 2013
Final hearings on the teacher absenteeism inquiry by the Parliamentary Education and Human Resources Training Committee commenced yesterday (Monday 14th October 2013) at the National Parliament House.
The Committee will listen to teachers, students and stakeholders from schools in Honiara and Guadalcanal Province this week.
In welcoming the Honiara participants yesterday, the Chairman, Hon Peter Shanel Agovaka said the Committee will do its best to take on board concerns and recommendations that will be raised during the hearings in its final report to parliament in December 2013.
Hon Angovaka highlighted that the hearings will allow Parliament to engage with the public in addressing the issue of Teacher Absenteeism.
A total of 23 organizations including teachers, students, Education Authorities including private operated schools, and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development were invited to appear before the Committee.
EHRTC members are: Hon, Peter Shanel Agovaka, Hon. John Maneniaru, Hon. Douglas Ete, Hon. John Moffat Fugui, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Hon. Johnley Hatimoana.
FRIDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER 2013
The four days intensive program allowed youths to experience the real practices and procedures of Parliamentary democracy.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo at the closing ceremony in Honiara said he was impressed by the youths’ contributions and suggestions in addressing the impact of climate change in Solomon Islands and the Pacific Region.
Prime Minister Lilo said, as young democracies, both Solomon Islands and Bougainville still have a long way to go in understanding the role of Parliament processes and procedures and on how the state governs its citizens.
“With that challenge, NCRA Government is very grateful to be part of this Regional Youth Program as it helps to educate, and allow our young people to actively participate in Parliamentary democracy and good governance,” Prime Minister Lilo said.
The four days program involved the youths in the following areas:
The aim of the program was to nurture the leadership qualities of the participating youths by engaging them in debating issues of national, regional and international significance in a parliamentary setting.
Prime Minister Lilo thanked the youths from New South Wales, Simon Johnstone and Rita Bila from the New South Wales Parliament as well as Peter Topura from Bougainville Parliament whose landmark participation made the event a truly Regional Gathering.
NSW youths left for Australia Tuesday afternoon.
FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER 2013
This is the statement from the Regional Youth Parliament Opposition Leader, Denmark Bahu who represented Solomon Islands.
Mr Denmark said highly industrialised countries are the ones who are contributing and emitting more than what small Island states produce and emit.
He said small Island states will be wasting funds, their energy and time because reduction of emissions will not even turn the green light on and they will still suffer the impacts.
Mr Denmark strongly suggested that Small Island states like Solomon Islands must only focus on adapting to the changes.
“We contribute very little to the causes but are facing more of the impacts, therefore we should only adapt,” he said.
But the Hon. Prime Minister of the Regional Youth Parliament, Ms Theodora Von Armin who represented New South Wales told the House that there are many reasons why this Bill is the best choice for the Solomon Islands. She mentioned the following:
“We think that the most effective strategy is adapting to the current effects of climate change as well as trying to mitigate whilst we still can. We also believe that in particular the logging industry of the Solomon Islands pose a big part, producing over 90 percent of green house gas emissions in the country.”
In that respect, Ms Theodora said the logging industry must try and reduce that pollution and find cleaner ways to do this sort of work.
She also mentioned matters such as reforestation as incredibly important and should be worked at in this mitigation Bill.
She said although mitigation is a hard and long task government is passing this Bill to show its commitment to the issue of Climate Change.
“Since Solomon Islands produce low emissions, mitigation might not be necessary. But we the government disagree. We don’t think this is the right attitude because every little bit can make a difference.”
“We need to pass this Bill now because it is we who watch sea levels rise and we watch species die out, plus it is our children who will see ice caps disappear, climates alter and people driven from their homes. And it is our grand children who will eventually inherit a dry, barren and broken earth if we stand by and do nothing. So we won’t do nothing because today we have the chance to do something,” she concluded.
The Regional Youth Parliament passed the Climate Change Mitigation Bill 2013 and adjourned Sine die on Friday the 27th September 2013.