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The Pacific Leadership Programme (PLP) is an initiative funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The PLP Secretariat is based at the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji and works across six countries: Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, and East Timor. The PLP is guided by a Panel of eminent Pacific Islanders who provide strategic oversight and direction for Programme activities.
The idea for the development of a leadership programme in the Pacific arose from a recognition by the peoples of the Pacific Islands themselves that leadership must change. It was inspired by the demands of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders for attention to improved leadership and good governance across the Pacific, for the benefit of all Pacific peoples.
Phase I of PLP commenced in April 2008 and is scheduled to run until 30 June 2009. Subject to further funding, Phase II is expected to commence on 1 July 2009 for a further four years.
The PLP seeks to contribute to good governance and improved leadership practices in the Pacific by supporting current and emerging Pacific leaders at local, national and regional levels.
PLP is different from many donor funded programmes. It consists largely of relationships between the Programme Secretariat and regional organizations in Suva; and with national and local level ‘partner’ organizations in the Programme’s six focus countries.
Unlike many programmes, the PLP does not design and implement its own activities, or create new processes. Instead, we work with existing Pacific organizations (these could be state, civil society or private sector) that are strategically placed to address leadership issues in the region. Such organizations are supported to work on their core business, and to grow stronger as organizations, so they can contribute to the development of future models of leadership which are appropriate to the traditional and modern cultures and needs of Pacific Islanders. We are particularly (though not exclusively) interested in working with organizations that are developing leadership opportunities for women and youth.
Our working relationships with partner organizations are based on mutual respect and benefit, and a shared commitment to the long term improvement of leadership and governance in the region. PLP provides a range of assistance to our partners, depending on their specific needs.
This may include financial support, technical expertise, formal and informal capacity development, and information sharing. In return, our partner organizations bring a wealth of local knowledge, networking opportunities, and other complementary benefits to the relationship.
The PLP works with stakeholders under four main areas:
Programme Area One:
Work in this area includes: promotion of special measures to increase women’s representation in parliament; support for the development of freedom of information legislation in Forum countries; support on the establishment of a regional Ombudsman’s Office; and research on countries’ progress against the Forum’s Principles of Good Leadership, which were adopted by Forum leaders in August 2003.
Programme Area Two:
Leadership Practice promotes and supports models of good leadership practice through partnerships with women’s, youth, faith-based, sports, business and media organizations in each of the six Programme countries. The organizations we partner with may vary from country to country, depending on the specific challenges, priorities and contextual issues of each country, and the types of work already being done and/ or supported in that country. The identification of partner organizations for our country programmes is done in close consultation with government and non-government stakeholders, as well as AusAID Post and other donor representatives.
Programme Area Three:
Research encourages scholarship and research on leadership and governance issues in the Pacific. A Research Steering Committee comprised of Pacific Islander academics, provides strategic direction to this Programme area and meets regularly to identify areas of new research, which is subsequently commissioned through the Programme. The Research Steering Committee also plays an important role in the promulgation and dissemination of regional scholarship, analysis and research to help inform decision-makers.
Programme Area Four:
Regional Partnerships supports the strengthening of organizations that have leadership building mandates at the regional level. Effective partnerships have already been established under this Programme area with several regional organizations, including UNIFEM, the Pacific Islands Association of Non Government Organizations (PIANGO), the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO) and the Pacific Youth Council (PYC).