Fifty-two youth representing Vanuatu’s six provinces are in Port Vila this week participating in the country’s first ever National Youth Parliament which is generating a lot of interest among the youth groups, many of whom for the first time will enter Vanuatu’s Parliament Chambers. The project is conducted by the government of Vanuatu with UNDP’s support.
The youth will undergo a week-long training programme facilitated by Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV) in collaboration with the Parliament Secretariat and support from the Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC).
The Youth Parliament was organised to allow the youth the opportunity to experience the procedures for parliamentary democracy, understand how a parliamentary system functions, its procedures, structure and organization of the Parliament. The youth participants will also experience how decisions made in Parliament can impact development and human rights issues in Vanuatu.
Speaking at the opening of the training, the Clerk of the Parliament, Mr Louis Kalnpel told the youth participants that as the leaders of tomorrow, they’ve made history by participating in Vanuatu’s first ever Youth Parliament in Vanuatu representing their provinces.
“Vanuatu desires to see young leaders who have the courage to lead this nation forward in the future, leaders who can stand for the principles of good governance amid the current development challenges. Leaders who are called to deliver the needs of citizens and contribute effectively to the transformational changes in the livelihood of the people of Vanuatu.”
“We are grateful to UNDP for the support provided for this initiative. The Government of Vanuatu Government will continue to maintain this good will relationship with UNDP and other UN agencies in our collective endeavour to achieve the shared vision in strengthening our parliamentary system and to groom our young people to become leaders of tomorrow.”
On the third day of the training, Ms Akiko Fujii, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative addressed to the participants. “The youth holds the key to the future development of Vanuatu. Understanding the Parliament’s key role as law making body and its responsibility to serve for the people of Vanuatu is a very important step for the youth.”
The training will end with the Youth Parliament on Wednesday 23 October followed by the Parliament Open Day and United Nations Day on Thursday 24 October. The youth will be deliberating on issues which are of paramount importance to their livelihood in the Parliament Chambers resembling the current Members of Parliament representing their constituencies.
The Parliament Open Day organized by the Vanuatu Parliament Secretariat will be an opportunity for the public and schools to learn more about the Parliament, its key functions including decision making processes including how laws and policies are endorsed through the parliamentary procedures.
The support to the National Youth Parliament is part of UNDP’s overall assistance to the Government of Vanuatu to support governance and promote democracy in Vanuatu.