FRIDAY 26th AUGUST 2016
The Environmental and Conservation Committee (ECC) of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands has started conducting hearings into the impacts of sea-level rise, due to climate change, on low-lying coastal and atoll communities in Solomon Islands.
This came about as a result of ECC’s deliberate meeting on the 5th of August where they resolved to inquire and report on issues relating to sea level rise due to climate change. Particularly, as stated in the inquiry’s terms of reference they will inquire mainly to:
•examine, consider, observe and determine issues in relation to the impacts of sea-level rise on low-lying coastal and atoll communities;
•to examine and evaluate measures adopted and implemented by relevant administrative authorities to address the impacts of sea-level rise; and
•to report to parliament the Committee’s findings and recommendation.
The ECC therefore conducted their first official hearing on Thursday 18th August with officers from the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM).
Chairman of the Environment Conservation Committee Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana explained that the hearing with the ministry is vital in order to get relevant documents regarding the scientific aspects of sea level rise due to climate change in the Solomon Islands, and the ministry’s position in addressing the issue in our low lying islands.
It was stated during the hearing that the MECDM already participated in a number of projects over the past years in their assessment program on sea level rise in some parts of the country.
This include enhancing resilience in climate change and food security where they did simple techniques which measures coastal assessment and sea level rise mapping.
Hon. Mathew Wale who is an active member of the ECC strongly advice the ministry to seriously address the climate change issue as it is now affecting our low lying coastal islands.
“Funds allocated for this purpose must be used wisely and evenly to assist in rebuilding the affected communities in their adaptation plans,” Hon. Wale advised.
“From this data we can tell communities that they have to plan for future projections,” Under Secretary Channel Iroi explained.
However details of the first hearing will not be disclosed for now since the ECC will conduct further hearings in Auki and Malu’u sometime next month.
Members of the Parliamentary Environment Conservation Committee are Hon. Dr Culwick Togamana (Chairman), Hon. Mathew Wale, Hon. Dr Derek Sikua, Hon. Connelly Sandakabatu, Hon. Charles Sigoto and Hon. Alfred Ghiro, Hon. Commins Mewa and Hon Jackson Fiulaua
FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST 2016
A team of three officers of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands conducted Parliament Education awareness programs to 20 communities and 2 high Schools in North West Choiseul and East Choiseul Constituencies in July 2016.
The constituency tour to the two constituencies commenced on 11 – 26 July 2016. On 11- 20 July the Parliamentary Civic Education (PCEU) Team visited 11 communities and a high school in North West Choiseul Constituency.
The PCEU team conducted parliamentary education programs to the following communities and schools in North West Choiseul Constituency:
Sagigai community, Voza community, Moli Community High School, Moli Community, Nukiki community, Taro Island, Poroporo community, Chirovanago community, Vurango community, Ogo community and Tutu community.
The team visited only Moli Community High School as most of the schools were having midyear school break.
On the second and final stage of the tour, PCEU team successfully visited 10 communities and a high school in East Choiseul Constituency.
The communities include:
Susuka community High School, Soranamola community, Lukuvaru community, Pangoe community, Tangibangara community, Kukele High School, Nuatabu community, Varunga community and Ghoghobe community.
Similarly, most primary and secondary schools were on midyear school break therefore PCEU visited Kukele High School in East Choiseul Constituency.
This tour is part of the Parliamentary Civic Education and Outreach program of the National Parliament aiming to educate and inform citizens, especially those living in remote parts of the country, on the function of Parliament, roles of Members of Parliament and separation of powers and professional supporting services of Parliament.
Apart from the community and school presentations, the highlight of the constituency visits was the direct engagement of constituents and school students in group work activities organized in all the communities and schools, plus presentations, feedbacks and questions from the constituency development officers (CDOs) of both Constituencies.
As described by the Director of Parliamentary Civic Education Department, Patteson Lusi, the tour was eye opening to constituents and school pupils.
Leaders of most of the communities echoed that this is the first time in the past 38 years that Parliament visited their villages.
“This is regarded as a special occasion for ordinary Solomon Islanders to hear from parliament what their MPs are doing in the big round house at Vavaya Ridge, Mr. Lusi said.
On that note, he acknowledged the following individuals and institutions for permission, funding and organizing needed logistics for the PCEU team to successfully tour North West Choiseul & East Choiseul Constituencies:
The Speaker, Clerk and Management of National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Solomon Islands Government, the Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, and the MP for East Choiseul Constituency Hon. Connelly Sadakabatu, MP North West Choiseul Constituency, Hon Jackson Kiloe, Premier and Members of Choiseul Provincial Assembly. Mr. Leslie Galo Constituency Development Officer, East Choiseul Constituency, Mr. Wally Provan, Constituency Development Officer of North West Choiseul Constituency, Mr. Charles Vunagi , Constituency Accounting Officer of North West Choiseul Constituency. Chiefs, church leaders and elders of the communities of both constituencies and School Principals of Moli Community High School and Kukele Adventist High School.
They all make the tour successful.
TUESDAY 2ND AUGUST 2016
The National Parliament of Solomon Islands together with its twinning partners, the Parliament of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the New South Wales Parliament successfully completed a two days Procedural workshop on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th June at the Paul Tovua conference room.
Facilitator of the program Mr. Stephen Frappel of NSW Parliament said, this was the first procedure workshop since the three Parliaments started their twinning arrangement five or six years ago.
“So this workshop gave the opportunity for procedure officers from these three parliaments to focus on procedure and the operations of the house and procedure privileges committees”
Mr. Frappel said that they have not had the chance to do it before even though they have put it on schedule for several years, as there wasn’t any opportunity to have it.
“Now it is happens to be the time where we finally get the key players from all three parliaments together” Mr. Frappel added.
During the workshop, procedure officers from all three Parliament s covered several topics that included a framework for considering traditions, practice, new procedures and advice. How a Clerk or a procedure officer go about assessing procedures, practices and innovations, matters of privilege/contempt and complex advice and some specific scenarios from the Bougainville Parliament and the Solomon Islands Parliament.
The workshop also gave the participants to share more ideas, information and challenges in their procedure and practice duties. Mr. Frappel stated.
Parliament media has spoken to some of the Participants who echoed that the workshop was really an opportunity for all three Parliaments to report back on where they were at in their respective procedure offices.
“We really learned a lot from this procedure workshop” they stated.
“Sometimes advices isn’t needed, like the clerks they’re upholders of the institution; we are responsible for researching procedural practices being aware the west minister traditions, and giving advice to members, speakers and clerks but sometimes the advice isn’t needed, we have the same problem in New South Wales from time to time” Mr. Frappel further explained.
“As a mechanism for holding the government to account and gaining information, there are ways that could definitely be reformed in New South Wales, so from my perspective question time probably works better here in the Solomon Islands Parliament and Bougainville Parliament” Frappel added.
At the moment, both the National Parliament of Solomon Islands and the Bougainville House of Representatives are still striving to achieve things like precedent system and reform of standing orders on top of their existing procedural duties despite them lacking human resources.
Mr. Frappel said this program will be an ongoing one as he wanted to see continuity to build up capacity in all three Parliaments.
By Fred Houla
FRIDAY 15TH JULY 2016
Members of the Education and Human Resources Training Committee were amongst the more than 400 participants at the Vaka Pasifiki Education Conference from the 5th to 6th July 2016 at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Kukum Campus.
The presences of the EHRTC members at the Conference, gives the Committee an opportunity to rapport amongst “ordinary people with extra ordinary dreams” and be able to feel the vibrating currents of educational directions that our people are aspiring for.
It is important for the Committee to be aware of such educational issues and be able to employ their mandate well, and hopefully will support educational policies that is responsive to the educational hopes of Solomon Islands.
Vaka Pasifikiis an educational movement supported by “ordinary people with extra-ordinary dreams”
It is the initial name for the emerging Indigenous Pacific Research School of Thought, at the School of Education, USP.
The educational aspirations of the Pacific and Solomon Islands per say; is uncharted still. Thus it requires a clear collective visioning of the pacific people alone, to define and navigate the destination of their educational endeavors.
Based on the theme Education for What? Revisited, participants discussed along the chic titles of what we should “Stop Doing, Keep Doing and Start Doing” within our educational system; through a collective reflection, re-imaging and reaffirming their dedication to serve the children in the pacific region for a better tomorrow.
TUESDAY 12 JULY 2016
Members of the Young Women’s Parliamentary Group Communications Team were given a two days Introduction to Media workshop at the Parliament’s Paul Tovua Complex, Vavaya Ridge on the 5th and 6th of July 2016.
The two days workshop is aimed at educating participants on what the media is and the different forms of news media that are used to disseminate information to the public.
The workshop covered print, online, radio and television news media, and how to produce content for each media.
It involved two field trips; one to Solomon Star Newspaper Office and the other to the Parliament Media Department, Radio and TV production studio.
It also featured a guest presentation by veteran Journalist, Mr. Julian Maka’a.
He has been working in the Solomon Islands Media Industry for 22 years with experiences beyond the Pacific Region.
After this training, the team is expected to produce and disseminate information on YWPG as a way of advocating the group’s gender programs and activities.
Not only that, but generally they are expected to write and produce news articles in other media forms they have learned.
In an interview, Director of Parliament Media, Ms Joy Angi, who is one of the facilitators at the training said, “I can assure you that I see potential in all participants to further develop your skills in this area.”
“You just need the right tools and the opportunity to do that especially in advocating for YWPG to fulfill its vision of influencing legislation and government policies,” she said.
Further to that she advised participants to keep up their knowledge on current gender issues. Not only that but she encouraged participants to also cover other areas in their reporting.
“Your knowledge on national issues, especially in the area of gender must be kept up to date since your job in YWPG now is to do public relations on YWPG programs and activities.”
The workshop was facilitated by the Director and the staff of the Parliament Media Department and organized by YWPG under the Parliamentary Civic Education Department, gender component.
The Young Women’s Parliamentary Group is a group established under the Civic Education Department, and is aimed at nurturing young women leaders, supported by young male counterparts to be active in influencing government policy and legislation.
Gino Oti, Ruth Amos and Christopher Baerii
TUESDAY 14TH JUNE 2016
Members of the Young Women Parliamentary Group (YWPG) are hoping to make an impact in their various work places and communities after a three days Transformational Leadership (TL) Seminar in Honiara from the 1st to the 3rd of June 2016.
The TL Seminar is organized by the National Parliament Civic Education Department Gender Component, facilitated and funded by UN Women.
In a statement to open the seminar, Clerk to National Parliament of Solomon Islands, Clezy Rore thanked UN Women for the technical and financial support towards gender and women related issues in the country
He said he is confident this will not be the last support given by UN Women to YWPG, instead, their assistance towards this three days training is a symbol of long term commitment of UN Women to maintain a cordial relationship with Solomon Islands Government, Provincial Government and the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
“Gender Equality does not demand that men and women are equal but it is about fairness in access to opportunities by all men and women, boys and girls,” said Audrey Manu, National Programme Coordinator of UN Women's Advancing Gender Justice Programme.
Audrey is one of the main facilitators of the seminar.
Thus, the aim of the seminar which is to ensure these young women learn and understand transformational leadership, nurture and strengthen young women’s skills as transformational leaders to enhance gender equality and to inspire and motivate young women to participate on leadership roles.
Gender equality refers to the goal of achieving equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and boys and girls.
The young women were introduced to a lot of new knowledge and have made comments on how this seminar has opened their minds to realize that Transformational Leadership starts with the individual by, knowing oneself before reaching out to others in discharging responsibilities in a gender balance manner.
Topics covered in the seminar include: Gender which branch out to Gender Equality, Discrimination, Gender Relations, Gender Order, Gender Inequalities, Substantive Equality, the definition of transformational Leadership, and activities of self assessments to find out what kind of leaders they are, which really humble the young women.
The seminar went as far as presenting topics on Gender Responsive Governance. This included Governance and Good Governance where transparency and accountability were discussed, and the Universal conventions on human rights where women’s rights were question and discussed.
It further covered topics on Gender Responsive Policy and Practice, Gender Responsive Budgeting whereby leaders recognize gender issues in policy making both in the private and public sector, and that budget allocations do not overlook gender issues.
They said, they now feel confident and empowered to ensure as student leaders that gender is addressed at all levels in their schools.
Today these young women will be fully engaged in topics covering: effective communication and networking as concluding topics of the seminar.
These young women aspiring leaders will then look for ways to ensure, Bills that come before Parliament are gender checked before they are brought to Parliament. This is to ensure that gender needs are recognize in budgets and legislature before they are passed and enforced.
The Young Women’s’ Parliamentary Group (YWPG) is a group established under the gender component of the Parliamentary Civic Education Department, of the National Parliament of Solomon Islands.
It is established under the mission to create space for young women to experience and participate in leadership to fulfill its vision to:
YWPG was formed in 2011 under the support of the National Parliament, SIG and UNDP Parliamentary Strengthening Project and had organized successful seminars, workshops and conferences focused on women and politics in Solomon Islands.
THURSDAY 9TH JUNE 2016
The 4th meeting of the 10th Parliament ended successfully with a motion of Sine Die on Friday the 27th of May 2016.
At this meeting, Parliament passed six Bills. They are:
A number of motions and questions were also moved and asked in Parliament.
1. Motion No. 17 – Congratulatory Motion. The Prime Minister moved: “That the National Parliament on behalf of the people of Solomon Islands congratulates Her Excellency Dr Ing-Wen TSAI and His Excellency Dr Chien-jen Chen, on their election victories and their subsequent inaugurations as President and Vice President respectively of the Republic of China and that this Resolution be conveyed to their Excellences’ by the Speaker of the National Parliament through the Embassy of Republic of China in Honiara.”
2. Motion No. 16 – Consider White Paper on Election System. Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister moved: “That Parliament resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole House to consider National Parliament Paper No.15 of 2016, White Paper on Election System Which Could be Adopted in Solomon Islands.”
3. Motion No.15 – Motion of Appreciation
4. The other motions are motions of Special Adjournments