A two-day workshop for the Members of Parliament on key regional issues got underway in Nuku’alofa today thanks to the kind support of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through a closer partnership with the Legislative Assembly Office.
The MPs workshop is an opportunity to discuss and raise awareness on a number of key regional priorities and initiatives driven, in the 2050 for the Blue Pacific Continent endorsed by Forum Leaders in Tuvalu in 2019. It is also to ensure alignment of efforts are attained at the national level.
Key regional priorities and initiatives includes climate change, sea level rise and natural disasters and climate financing among other issues.
In his keynote address to officially open the MPs workshop, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lord Tu’iha’angana challenged and reminded legislators on their scrutiny and oversight role of legislation, Bills and government policies which impact people’s lives. While at the same, they should ensure Parliament plays a supportive role in advocating regional issues at the national level for promotion of good governance, quality education and most importantly for promotion of regionalism.”
Tu’iha’angana said the MPs capacity building program is part of strengthening and empowering them to effectively perform their duties despite the many challenges they face. He added that in leadership, MPs should scrutinize laws, government economic and trade policies and other key regional issues.
“Legislators should also identify ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change, reduce poverty among regional and international issues. Tonga Parliament will compile the outcome of these regional priorities and their status to help MPs role in advocating on these initiatives at the national, regional and global levels,” said the Deputy Speaker
Lord Tu’iha’angana also reminded participants on the importance of holding Government accountable on global and regional issues.
Today the MPs were reminded on the parliamentary tools and mechanisms to address key regional issues in terms of their key roles in representation, oversight and law making. They also have a better understanding of key regional priorities such as economy, climate change, climate financing, social issues, trade and economic issues within a geo-political environment and how it relates to their roles as MPs.
The workshop is co-hosted by facilitators from the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Legislative Assembly of Tonga. It is part of PIFs support to the Tongan Parliament which was identified during a meeting between the Lord Speaker Fakafanua and the PIF Secretary General in one of his recent high-level visits to Tonga. This is in recognition of the critical and evolving role of Parliaments and MPs in the region, Tonga included.