2023's theme being “Inclusive participation for a stronger Democracy”
Solomon Islands celebrates International Day of Democracy
September 20, 2023
Honiara, Solomon Islands - On 15 September, with a festive atmosphere, Solomon Islands marked the International Day of Democracy, an occasion to commemorate democracy and to promote its principles. The day provided an opportunity to review the state of democracy in the country, especially in regard to preparations for the anticipated 2024 General Elections.
In the early morning, people gathered around the Honiara Town Council to celebrate the right of Solomon Islanders to choose their government. The crowd crossed the city to arrive at the Justice Grounds where the official celebration was taking place, with the participation of Hon. Prime Minister, Manasseh Damukana Sogavare, former Prime Minister and Chairperson of Political Parties Commission, Sir Francis Billy Hilly, and representatives from various government institutions, political parties, the diplomatic corps and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
UNDP was the main organizer of the event through the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle (SECSIP) and the Strengthening Provincial Governance and Service Delivery in Solomon Islands projects.
Democracy is as much a process as a goal, and its realization depends on the active involvement and support of the international community, national governing bodies, civil society and individuals. As Linda, a student from the Advance Christian Academy and winner of the junior political speeches competition, reminded us: “Democracy in essence is a form of governance that empowers the people and ensures their participation in the decision making processes. It is a system that thrives on the principles of equality, freedom and justice.”
Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Damukana Sogavare, emphasized that democracy encompasses “other principles such as transparency and accountability, regular free and fair elections, human rights and a multi-party system. All principles well and truly enshrined in our Constitution.”
These values are the pillars of UNDP’s good governance programmes worldwide. UNDP works to consolidate democratic societies to be inclusive, resilient, and efficient as a base for lifting people out of poverty, as part of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Achieving this requires taking significant steps forward, and good governance is a precondition. Therefore Sustainable Development Goal 16, which focuses on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, is the enabler of sustainable development.
Mr. Patrick Pee, Officer in Charge on behalf of UNDP Solomon Islands, emphasized this year’s theme: “Inclusive Participation for Stronger Democracy in Solomon Islands” and acknowledged “the joint collaboration that has made this celebration possible.” UNDP has been supporting various institutions involved in today’s programme, including the Political Parties Commission (PPC), the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC), the National Parliament of Solomon Islands (NPSI), Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) and the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC).
In Solomon Islands, UNDP's financial support from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the European Union and the UK, has actively focused on supporting the country’s democratic efforts to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels.
UNDP’s Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative and the second phase of the regional Strengthening Legislatures in Pacific Island Countries Project support the Parliament in its efforts to deliver its constitutional mandate.
Various integrity institutions such as the Office of Auditor General, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Leadership Code Commission and the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC) are also supported though the Transparency and Accountability Project.
At provincial level, UNDP has recently started to implement the Strengthening Provincial Governance and Service Delivery in Solomon Islands project. This project supports the Ministry of Provincial Governments and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS) in enhancing provincial governments’ institutional capacity and improving service delivery, particularly in the crucial sectors of health and education, including water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Furthermore, UNDP supports the Political Parties Commission (PPC), the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP), and the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) through its flagship project in elections: the Strengthening the Electoral Cycle of Solomon Islands project (SECSIP).
SECSIP, established in partnership with the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) in 2013, aims to bolster the sustainability and credibility of electoral processes by providing technical assistance, logistical support, and facility upgrades to electoral organizations, primarily the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC). For instance, two days ago, the project helped the SIEC inaugurate the New Election Operations constructed by the SECSIP project.
Through these valuable initiatives UNDP and its partners collaborate to strengthen electoral institutions, improve electoral processes and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse political future. This effort is particularly relevant to this year´s theme for the International Day of Democracy in Solomon Islands: “Inclusive Participation for Stronger Democracy in Solomon Islands.”
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Daniel Gonzalez, Communications Specialist, UNDP Solomon Islands Office, firstname.lastname@example.org | +677 7740 740 | +34 656560270