More than fifty staff in Papua New Guinea's National Parliament participated in two days of training aimed at strengthening their capacities to provide support services to parliamentary committees that will operate during the 11th National Parliament.
Parliamentary staff prepare to support next cohort of elected Members of Parliament
July 31, 2022
Parliamentary Committees are known around the world as the “workhorses” of a Parliament because it is in Committees that the hard work of assessing Bills, budget oversight and policy review is undertaken. Most Papua New Guinean’s only really see MPs do parliamentary work when they debate and discuss Bills and talk in Question Time, but it is through the work of Committees that MPs strengthen parliamentary oversight. This is a serious mandate – and one which can be very effective in focusing the attention of officials, the public and the media on what the government is doing, but even more, on what they can be doing better.
In the last term of Parliament, the Special Parliamentary Committee on Gender Based Violence (GBV) was very visible in holding the government to account for the limited effective action taken to address GBV. In the next Parliament, staff are committed to supporting other committees to use their powers to similar effect.
Staff from the Parliaments of Solomon Islands and Fiji flew into Port Moresby to participate in the programme by sharing their own good practice and comparative expertise. Staff from the Parliaments of Queensland in Australia and New Zealand also joined online and staff from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville also flew to Port Moresby to participate in the training so that they can take home knowledge to apply in their own Legislative Assembly.
The training held from July 20-21, is part of a professional development programme for key parliamentary staff under the Parliamentary Strengthening Project for the National Parliament of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville House of Representatives of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The package of assistance will work to strengthen collaboration between both Parliaments. It will support Members of both legislatures in their efforts to debate matters of public interest as they steward Papua New Guinea’s national development.
Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Edward Vrkic, thanked the participants for their commitment to strengthen parliamentary democracy reminding participants that, “Parliaments are a cornerstone of democracy. They have the power to drive transformative change, through law-making but also the work of parliamentary committees.”
Mr Vrkic added, “We know from our support to the Parliamentary GBV Committee how much impact MPs can have when they use their oversight powers to hold officials to account. We hope that the staff of PNG’s parliamentary committees benefit from this training and can use it to support MPs in the next parliamentary term to use their powers to drive accountable and inclusive development for all.”
UNDP’s new Parliamentary Strengthening Project will support the Parliaments of Papua New Guinea and Bougainville with the induction of new Members of Parliament on a range of policy issues, deliver training to Parliamentary staff and invest in raising the awareness among citizens on the role of strong Parliaments for democracy and good governance.
The first phase of this five-year programme is proudly funded by the Government of Australia.
“Parliaments are a cornerstone of democracy. They have the power to drive transformative change, through law-making but also the work of parliamentary committees.”Deputy Resident Representative, Mr Edward Vrkic