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UNDP Pacific Centre: Tongan Parliamentarians Urged To Work Together

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
UNDP Pacific Centre: Tongan Parliamentarians Urged To Work Together

Tongan parliamentarians today embarked on a week long journey to deepen their technical knowledge of the workings of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, including their role as law-makers and representatives of the people.

The Parliamentary Awareness and Leadership workshop follows the historic elections of November 25 last year, in which voters for the first time directly elected the majority of members of the Parliament.

Delivering the keynote address Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Tonga, Lord Lasike said the workshop marked the beginning of his office's efforts to strengthen the services provided to Members of the Assembly and the people of Tonga.

"We should always remember that we are representatives of the people and therefore, we will be held accountable for the decisions and actions we take while discharging our parliamentary responsibilities. There is an onus on us as parliamentarians to work together and this forum provides an opportunity to do just that," said Lord Lasike.

The workshop is organized by the Legislative Assembly of Tonga with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Australia), New Zealand Parliament, Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility and AusAID.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark sent a special message to the Parliamentarians.

"For the first time in Tongan history, the majority of the Legislative Assembly has been elected directly by the people. This Assembly carries with it the strong democratic expectations of voters, and faces a big agenda in the years ahead," said Ms Clark in a message that was delivered on her behalf by the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Toily Kurbanov.

"This Legislative Assembly starts its work a little under five years before the date set for achieving the targets in the Millennium Development Goals.Well targeted policies can help deliver and sustain development results, especially for vulnerable communities. This Assembly has an important task to ensure that not only is government accountable to the people, but also that the budget and development processes bring benefits for all Please be assured that the Assembly is not alone in tackling its agenda, and that you will have support from your trusted partners."

The workshop is currently underway at the Fa'onelua Convention and ends on February 4.

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