The Parliament of the Republic of Fiji, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji and McGill University of Canada is currently hosting regional participants to a two-week intensive management course specifically designed for senior secretariat staff of Parliament.
The Corporate Management of Parliament course recognises that good corporate governance is essential to a vibrant democracy by helping parliamentarians fulfill their constitutional role of representation, legislative, oversight and scrutiny.
This the first time for the McGill University to conduct such training in the Pacific region with 28 participants from nine national parliaments: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.
The training programme is supported by UNDP’s Pacific Parliamentary Effectiveness Initiative (PPEI) Project, the Fiji Parliament Support Project II and the Strengthening Legislatures in the Pacific (SLIP) Project with funding from the Governments of Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
In her opening address to course participants, the Secretary-General to Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua, said the intensive two-week course would be a learning opportunity that will benefit the respective parliaments.
“We have been guided and assisted in a lot of ways in the last four years we have been here and an important aspect we have realized is that without a good secretariat, a parliament will not function well and so I am grateful that through this course, we can better ourselves for effectiveness in the roles we play,” said Mrs Namosimalua.
She added, “I want to thank the McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies and the UNDP for making this happen and I have no doubt that we will all return enriched with knowledge and innovative ideas for the good of the parliaments we represent.”
A key focus of the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji’s parliamentary development work is to support the development of parliament staff through enhancing their knowledge and skills to effectively carry out their roles.
“The corporate management field for parliamentary staff is a specialized and unique field of study tailored to cater for the needs of a specific institution,” said Dyfan Jones, the Team Leader for Effective Governance at the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji.
“It is for this reason that a specialised course on Parliament corporate management is essential.”
“Previously, UNDP had supported the participation of several staff from different Pacific parliaments to undertake courses with McGill in Canada,” said Jones.
“This year, after some discussions with Pacific parliaments, UNDP requested McGill to conduct the training in the region, allowing for many more Parliament staff to be trained.”
He added, “Well-structured, staffed and resourced parliaments are essential to a vibrant democracy and to achieve SDG16. Parliaments are complex organizations with distinct political, procedural and administrative aspects and this complexity presents significant challenges in running an effective and efficient parliament.”
At the end of the training, participants are expected to have obtained a 65% pass to receive a confirmation of completion. They will also be considered for an advanced standing in McGill’s Professional Development Certificates in Parliamentary Management for those who wish to be admitted to the programme.