Civil Society Organisation (CSO) representatives last week travelled to Honiara from across the nation to develop a powerful policy position on corruption and good governance.
“Corruption is eating our beautiful country,” said Inia Barry, Chairman of the Development Services Exchange.
“This is the number one issue affecting Pacific Island nations as a whole,” he added.
“There are many other issues that we are working on, but unless we stop corruption, then things will never change.”
The national CSO network has agreed on three key solutions and recommendations, which they will be advocating for at the regional level in the lead up to this year’s Pacific Island Forum (PIFs) leaders meeting in February 2018.
1. Develop mechanisms to monitor the regional good governance framework – Establish a monitoring agency and include support budget for the implementation of the agency action plan.
2. Develop Regional Anti-Corruption convention – Develop one convention document that summarizes the Pacific Islands Forum Governance framework and the United Nation Convention on Anti-Corruption (UNCAC)
3. Accountable Gender & Youth budgeting – 20% of fixed gender and youth accountable national budgets across pacific countries.
Mr Barry said this important work builds on PIFS phase 1 workshop in 2016 “Making regional policies accessible to CSOs”.
He said during the workshops CSOs identified and prioritised key themes such as corruption, good governance and indigenous rights as priorities issues they would like to collectively advocate at national and regional level.
The avenues has also supported CSOs to better understand regional framework and spaces to be able to bring their agendas to the leaders platforms for political commitment
The key CSOs coordinated by Development Service Exchange (DSE) were also part of the hugely successful “Bring It Back” campaign that fought to bring the Anti-Corruption Bill back to parliament late last year.
“My dream is that Solomon Islanders in particular women, girls, children including people with special needs have equal rights and opportunities and, are able to access quality health services and education,” said Julia Fationo-Cutforth of Oxfam in Solomon Islands.
“Bad governance and corruption is the underlying cause of unequal distribution of resources resulting in poor public services in our urban and rural communities,” she added.
This important work forms part of EU funded ‘Making Regional Policy Accessible for Non-State Actors’ program, led by Oxfam in the Pacific and happening in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands and Oxfam’s Herem Staka Vois program, funded by Australian Aid.