The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, in partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) hosted a two-day workshop for political parties’ officials and other relevant stakeholders to advance their roles in transparency, inclusiveness and accountability of political parties.
More than 50 dignitaries from the Solomon Islands, including parliament members and representatives from political parties, electoral management bodies, government ministries, as well as women’s and youth leaders, have come together with peers from the pacific region to share experiences and discuss trends and practices in the management and oversight of political parties.
During this workshop, the participants had the opportunity to explore how transparency in political funding can play a key role in reducing corruption.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Sir Francis Billy-Hilly, Chair, Political Party Commission have emphasized the significance of creating and strengthening political parties to ensure that they have a national reach and have equal representation in their membership and support.
“The workshop builds on previous discussions of inclusiveness by focusing on topics related to engaging young people, women and minority groups in the structures and membership of political parties in the Solomon Islands,” said Sir Billy-Hilly.
Legal frameworks for regulating the formation and operation of political parties vary across Pacific countries. In Solomon Islands, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties was established to regulate political parties and provide support to them.
The Registrar of Political Parties, Mr Jasper H. Anisi, said that “the two-day workshop provides key stakeholders with information, comparative experiences and a platform to reflect on the functioning of political parties and political system in Solomon Islands and to effectively engage in positive system reforms to increase the quality of democracy in Solomon Islands.”
Over the years, UNDP in Solomon Islands, and across the Pacific, has been supporting two key political actors – the Parliaments and electoral management bodies – to develop their capacities in order to uphold countries’ commitments to democracy. Sustainable Development Goal 16 talks of the need for effective, accountable and transparent intuitions.
While the focus of the two-day workshop is not directly focused on electoral management bodies nor the legislatures, it focuses on political parties who are the key actors in making democracy function effectively.
Mr. Berdi Berdiyev, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative and Country Manager, emphasized that “Developing political parties that are able to represent citizens in an inclusive and accountable manner is one credible pathway to a stable and effective political system. Policy regulation is important in this regard.”
He added that “Often, political party regulation and development are overlooked when designing governance systems or in efforts to strengthen those systems.”
Political party representatives and political party management bodies officials from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Australia, including two political comparative scientists from South Africa and the United Kingdom contributed to the event as resource experts.
The two-day workshop was supported by various Governance and Peacebuilding Projects funded by the Governments of Solomon Islands, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, and UNDP, as part of UNDP’s work for promoting transparency, accountability and electoral integrity in the Pacific.