Regional workshop to discuss democratic institutions

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat will jointly hold a Regional Workshop on Democratic Institutions from 27-29 February 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.

Over 40 participants from the region will attend the workshop.

“Democratic Institutions” include a wide range of governance issues including the workings of the parliament (including the Office of the Speaker and committees), the executive, judiciary, the electoral and political process, the media and independent constitutional offices such as the Auditor-General.

The regional workshop is to identify areas in which the Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility could focus its effort in the region. The Facility is based in Honiara, Solomon Islands and was established to support the Good Governance pillar of the Pacific Plan. Its vision reflects the Commonwealth’s core principle of promoting just and honest government by supporting democratic legitimacy, effective public authority and responsive public administration that together promote sustainable development, political stability and economic growth.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade says the Regional Workshop aims to achieve three primary objectives.

“Firstly, it aims to identify issues and challenges that are crucial to democratic institutions in the region. This is fundamental. We need to understand the critical issues and key challenges to democratic institutions if we are to make meaningful interventions.

Secondly, it aims to identify appropriate and strategic areas of intervention to strengthen and support the work and role of democratic institutions in the region. This is necessary because we desire to make a real difference through the activities we develop. But in order to do that, we want to hear and learn about the experiences of our people and development partners. We look forward to the discussions between the participants that will assist our own work in the region.

Thirdly, the Regional Workshop seeks to encourage better understanding of the work of development partners and donors in support of democratic institutions in the region. We need to know what others are doing so that we may continue to build upon and complement the collective regional efforts of strengthening democratic institutions.”

“Promoting democracy through support for democratic institutions is a core activity of the Forum and the Commonwealth. This joint regional workshop further advances the ongoing partnership between the Commonwealth and the Forum on a common agenda,” says Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

ENDS

For enquiries contact Dr. Henry Ivarature, the Forum Secretariat’s Regional Governance Adviser on phone 679 331 2263 or email henryi@forumsec.org.fj and Dr. Taiamoni Pifeleti, the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Governance Institutional Development Division Pacific Adviser on email t.pifeleti@commonwealth.int