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

March 3, 2023

Suva, Fiji – The Government of 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," said His Excellency the Ambassador of Japan to Fiji, Mr Fumihiro Kawakami. "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."

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 Honourable Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, the 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.

"This project is a significant step towards achieving more inclusive and democratic governance in the Pacific region," said Dawn Del Rio, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative a.i.. "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. 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."

The project will start in April 2023, and is expected to run for four years with a budget of US$ 6 million. It will 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 (SDGs) in the region.

For more information, please contact:
Emily Moli, Knowledge Communications Analyst, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.
Email: emily.moli@undp.org; tel: (679) 3227 504 / (M) 7225 301