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OEK and UNDP conduct Awareness & Development Issues Seminar

JOINT PRESS RELEASE: Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) and UNDP

OEK and UNDP conduct Awareness and Development Issues Seminar with 9th OEK Members and National Partners

January, 2013 (Koror, Palau) – The 8th Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK), in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted an Awareness and Development Issues Seminar with newly elected members of the 9th Olbiil Era Kelulau from 8-11 January, 2013. The goal of this seminar for incoming members of the 9th OEK was to enable Senators and Delegates to understand and more effectively perform their legislative, representation and oversight roles.

The Honorable Kathy Kesolei, Vice President of the Senate and Honorable Alexander Merep, Vice Speaker of the House of Delegates, both Co-Chairperson of the OEK Joint Committee on the Legislative Needs Assessment, presided over the opening ceremony. Vice President Kathy Kesolei opened the seminar, congratulated the newly elected members of the 9th OEK and welcomed the seminar’s highly qualified and skilled national and international resource persons and facilitators, including Senator J. Kalani English of the Hawaii State Legislature and Mr. Brian Lenga, Programme Development and Policy Analyst from UNDP Multi-Country Office in Fiji.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Knut Ostby, in his statement, delivered by Ms. Sharon Sakuma, Country Development Manager of the UN Joint Presence Office in Palau, said that “UNDP regards the role of Palau Congress as absolutely critical in the democratic governance process and nation building. Senators and Delegates play a crucial role in the oversight and scrutiny of the Executive to ensure that the resources of the nation are truly directed for the benefit of all, for national development”. Mr. Ostby offered for consideration the MDGs, the post-2015 development agenda and the Rio + 20 outcomes as potential areas of dialogue for new members to use as benchmarks for monitoring national development.

The 9th OEK seminar also provided a space for dialogue between the members of the Palau National Congress and respective national government ministries and civil society on how to work collaboratively to address development issues and challenges facing Palau now and in the future.

The four day seminar will give new members of 9th OEK an increased awareness and understanding of the key documents and procedures regarding law making, representation and oversight; have an increased awareness of how to integrate development and cross-cutting issues in the legislative and oversight processes; and will jointly identify and agree on proposals for integrating development and cross-cutting issues in the Palau National Congress’s legislative and oversight process.

Senator-elect Jerrlyn Uduch Sengebau-Senior said “I am finding this workshop very useful, especially from listening to the experience of long term serving senators and delegates on how they deal with technical and procedural issues in the Congress.” She added that during her term she wants to focus on addressing justice concerns and issues with juveniles and supporting economic empowerment of women.

The induction seminar is an initiative of the Palau Congress and the UNDP Fiji Multi-Country Office with participation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Hawaii State Legislature.

UNDP supports the Parliaments in several Pacific Islands countries and Palau is one of them. UNDP organized similar induction programmes for Parliamentarians in Tonga, Kiribati, and Tuvalu and for the Senators in the Federated States of Micronesia Congress in 2011 and recently in Vanuatu in November 2012.
Click here to read the full address by Knut Ostby.

ENDS

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