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Japan, UNDP ink funding support to boost six Pacific islands' legislatures





Japan and UNDP sign new agreement scaling up support to strengthening of legislatures in six Pacific Countries


By Pacific Island News Staff


Suva, Fiji – Japan and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a new funding agreement to support the institutional strengthening of legislatures in six countries of the Pacific region.


The project, which is part of Japan's commitment to sustainable development in the Pacific, aims to enhance the capacity of the legislative bodies in these countries to promote good governance, strengthen democracy, and improve public service delivery.


The six countries that will participate include Fiji, the Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – all of which face unique challenges in their efforts to achieve sustainable development.


The intervention, which builds on the successes of the first phase of the project that ran between 2018 and 2022, will provide technical assistance, training, and capacity-building support to these countries' legislatures, as well as strengthen cooperation and exchange among the parliaments at the regional level.


"Japan is firmly committed to supporting the development of the Pacific region, and we believe that strengthening the capacities of legislative bodies is critical to achieving sustainable development," Japanese Ambassador Fumihiro Kawakami said.


"We are pleased to renew our partnership with UNDP on this important project, and we look forward to working together with the legislatures and people of the Pacific to achieve our common goals," he added.


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The project “is a reflection of Japan’s long-standing interest and desire to support parliamentary democracy and good governance amongst our small island countries”, said Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, speaker of the Fijian Parliament, speaking on behalf of the six focus legislatures participating in the project.


“The Pacific occupies a significant portion of the Earth’s surface, in fact, an ocean region covering nearly 20 percent of the planet. Our ocean may be the largest, but we are amongst some of the smallest and most vulnerable countries in the world.”


“We need robust legislatures to respond to these challenges”, he added.


Dawn Del Rio, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji resident representative, said the project is a significant step toward achieving more inclusive and democratic governance in the Pacific region,


"Legislatures play a critical role in ensuring that the voices of citizens are heard that public resources are allocated fairly and transparently and that policies are aligned with the needs of the people," Rio said.

"We are proud to partner with Japan on this important initiative, and we are committed to working with the governments and people of the Pacific to achieve our shared vision for sustainable development, ensuring gender equality and prioritizing marginalized groups in society," she added.


The project, which will start in April, is expected to run for four years with a budget of $6 million. It is touted to contribute to the larger UNDP effort to strengthen parliamentary development in the Pacific region, in partnership with international development partners, and will contribute to sustainable development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. (UNDP)


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