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Political Parties in the South Pacific, Honiara Solomon Islands

by Eva Wagner
Creating Inclusive Political Parties in the South Pacific
The third UNDP Regional Conference for Political Parties in the South Pacific was held from 17 to 19 September 2019 in Honiara / Solomon Islands. This year’s conference was dedicated to “creating inclusive political parties”. There were round about 100 participants, including members of parliaments and representatives of electoral commissions and primarily political parties (from various countries including the host country, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Hawaii, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu). At KAS Australia’s proposal, representatives from the Australian Liberal Party and the New Zealand National Party took part, too.

The participants were briefed about possible strategies for the inclusion of women and youth into political parties’ activities. They were also given the opportunity to develop national strategies in individual working groups. There were also positive examples in terms of active women’s and youth organisations in some of the Pacific island states.

The role of regulatory bodies and electoral commissions was also discussed. The key note speaker, Senator Kalani English, raised the issue of the inclusion of indigenous peoples. In the words of one of the speakers: Political parties must be inclusive for them to win elections. His argument remained undisputed, even though there are country specific issues that must be overcome to achieve true inclusiveness.

KAS Australia would like to thank UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji for its efforts in regards to inclusive political parties in the South Pacific and looks forward to continue supporting the series of conferences next year.