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WEDNESDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Parliament Virtual Meeting on Covid-19

[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.

TUESDAY 4TH AUGUST 2020

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has resolved in its deliberative meeting on Monday 3rd August 2020 to commence tomorrow, Wednesday 5th August ,the inquiry proper into the 2019 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020 and the 2020 Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2020.

Both bills were presented to the Office of the Speaker of the National Parliament at 4pm on Friday 31st July 2020. This was confirmed by the Director of the Committee Secretariat Mr. Gregory Fineanganofo.

Mr Fineanganofo says the PAC will also meet with the Auditor General today to brief and advice the Committee further on the budget documents, stakeholders and the hearing schedule.

According to the Director, the hearing is scheduled for Wednesday 5th to Tuesday 11th August 2020. This means the hearing will run throughout the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), however, expected changes to the schedule still stand.

The PAC, like other Parliamentary Standing Committees, are mini Parliaments mandated by the Constitution and the Parliamentary Standing Order to oversee the management of public funds, government actions and decisions. The task of the PAC at hand is to consider in detail the supplementary appropriation bills prepared by the Government.

Stakeholders or witnesses invited to appear before the PAC include all Government ministries, Constitutional Offices like the Office of the Ombudsman, Office of the Auditor General, Office of the Governor General, Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Solomon Islands Electoral Office, National Judiciary and financial institution like the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI).

TUESDAY 28TH JULY 2020

The 3rd meeting of the 11th Parliament resumes on Monday the 27th of July 2020 to consider the motion to approve another State of Public Emergency for another 4 months.

The previous State of Public Emergency approved by Parliament expired on the 24th of July 2020, thus, His Excellency the Governor General declared on the 24th of July 2020 a new State of Public Emergency in Solomon Islands, pursuant to Section 16 subsection 3 of the Constitution.

Debate on the motion is expected to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and if this motion is approved by Parliament, the State of Public Emergency shall continue in force until the expiration of 4 months, or unless revoked by a resolution of Parliament. The State of Public Emergency will allow government to make orders for the fight against the global COVID 19 pandemic.

Solomon Islands is still among 12 countries in the world that are yet to record any cases of COVID 19.

After dealing with the motion on the State of Public Emergency, Parliament will go on a special adjournment to allow the Public Accounts Committee to review 2 Supplementary Appropriation Bills before resuming on Wednesday 12th of August 2020.

TUESDAY 5TH MAY 2020

Parliament Virtual Meeting on Covid-19Minister for Education and Human Resources, Hon. Lanelle Tanangada, attended the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health Ad-hoc Virtual Meeting for COVID-19 on Thursday 23rd April 2020.

The Health & Medical Services Committee former Chairperson- Hon. Lanelle Tanangada (now Minister for Education and Human Resources) and the committee Secretary Ms. Salome Pilumate attended the Asia-Pacific Parliamentarian Forum on Global Health Ad-hoc Virtual Meeting for COVID-19 on Thursday 23rd April 2020.

This was held at the World Health Organization (WHO) Office in Honiara.
The objectives of the meeting were to:

  1. obtain updated technical information from WHO on the COVID-19 situation;
  2. Share experiences on Parliamentary actions on relating to COVID-19 and
  3. To consider how the Forum can support these efforts.

15 countries of the Asia- Pacific participated in the Ad-hoc Virtual meeting including: Australia, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Japan, Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Federated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Palau, PNG, Philippines, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

The Forum will continue to look into ways they work in collaboration with WHO with regards to COVID-19.

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