The Clerk of the Solomon Islands Parliament, Mrs Taeasi Sanga, and Mr Albert Kabui, Constitutional and Parliamentary Law and Practise Legal Specialist of the Solomon Islands Parliament have travelled to PNG to support the Practice Parliament which took place from the 23rd to 27th April 2012. The two were invited to help facilitate the Women Practise Parliament workshop together with other facilitators from around the region like Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Palau.
When asked why they were invited, the Clerk remarked that “the reason is because of our experience in having set up our own mock Youth Parliament and recently the Women mock Parliament to debate the Temporary Special Measures.” She said they have been asked to share with PNG women who might be interested in contesting in their next general election.
PNG never have one mock debate before so the two officers will assist them in putting together a program for a mock Parliament. The Practice Parliament is being organized by the Office of the Department of Women (ODW) and the United Nations (UN) as part of the national ODW strategy to support women candidates in their efforts to get elected to the National Parliament in the next elections.
Currently, PNG has only one woman Member of Parliament, Hon Dame Carol Kidu, the current Leader of the Opposition. However, Dame Carol has indicated her intention to retire from politics at the next elections. The ODW’s strategy to support women candidates is a response to the possibility that, without such assistance, the 109-member PNG National Parliament could end up having no women MPs following the upcoming national elections.
More than 70 women applied to participate in the Practice Parliament following and ODW, UNDP and UN Women selected the women based on their applications, after confirming their intention to run in the next elections. From Monday to Wednesday, the women will be trained in parliamentary procedures, as well as substantive policy issues of relevance to the PNG people. On Thursday, they will conduct a Practice Parliament, including a Question Time session and a debate on a Mock Bill on reproductive health rights. The Practice Parliament is supported by national and international resource people. In an exciting new initiative sponsored by UNDP, the Practice Parliament will strengthen Melanesian Spearhead Group ties.
The “Practice Parliament for Women” initiative was launched by UNDP and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat last year. Mock Parliaments for Women were organized in Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Palau in 2011. The National Parliament of Solomon Islands organised three mock Parliaments since 2009. The aim of mock Parliaments is to help raise awareness and the importance of issues affecting the lives of certain groups within a country, especially developing countries like us in the Pacific region.
Further inquiries to NPSI Media Officer: Joy Rikimae - Tele: 28520/27840/7558005 email: email@example.com
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