Suva, Fiji: In collaboration with the Pacific Islands News Agency (PINA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office has launched a series of stories created by Pacific journalists that connect public monies to people.
Under the EUR 6 million Vaka Pasifika project - supported by the European Union (EU) - this engagement with Pacific journalists aims to elevate awareness of public finance management, serving as a reminder of what the 'public' in public finances really stands for.
A workshop held in August brought together journalists from Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Their contributions, comprising of seven human interest stories, explore themes such as climate change, disasters, economic growth, and the judicious use of state budgets.
The launch of this collection ahead of International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December is a crucial component of the Vaka Pasifika project's ongoing work with 15 Pacific Island countries. The project aims to advance accountability and foster collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, and the media.
Her Excellency Barbara Plinkert, Ambassador of the European Union to the Pacific, acknowledged the pivotal role played by the Vaka Pasifika project in promoting transparency and prudent public spending across the region.
"Public finances are dear resources and transparency positively contributes to their efficient and effective utilisation. Free media and civil society play an undisputable and irreplaceable role in shaping public opinion and in generating demand for greater financial accountability. That is their very important addition to the public good of the whole society. Therefore the EU remains committed to continue supporting efforts to empower journalists and civil society in the Pacific," Ambassador Plinkert said.
Makereta Komai, PINA Executive Director, applauded the initiative and said:
"This provides a platform for journalists to refine their skills while shedding light on key issues affecting the Pacific through the compelling power of human narratives."
Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Pacific Resident Representative, said that fostering transparency and empowering local voices were key priorities for UNDP's work both in the region, and globally.
"These stories offer a rare insight into the lives of Pacific communities and the unique challenges they face. Aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, these narratives reflect UNDP's commitment to fortify transparency, sustainability, and economic resilience in the face of geographical remoteness, fiscal constraints, and susceptibility to disasters," she said.
As the Vaka Pasifika project continues to illuminate the path towards accountable governance and inclusive development, UNDP invites stakeholders, policymakers, and citizens alike to engage actively in the ongoing narrative of progress and change.
The power of these stories lies not only in their ability to inform but in their capacity to inspire collective action for a more sustainable and equitable future in the Pacific.
For further media enquiries please contact:
Alrina Ali, Vaka Pasifika Project Activity Manager, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji. (E) email@example.com