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Pacific hub

Regional

This hub is part of the Centre for Innovation in Parliament.

The regional hubs promote the effective use of technology in parliaments by sharing and consolidating information on past, ongoing and future ICT initiatives at regional level, and through the CIP secretariat at global level. Membership: any parliament within the Pacific region.

Host parliament:
4 hub updates

How Parliaments in the Pacific have been functioning during lockdown

Pacific hub

Like fellow parliaments around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions has meant adjusting procedures and processes very quickly for many of our Pacific hub Members. At the height of the lockdown, many used virtual and hybrid means to continue parliamentary business. Tele- and videoconferencing technologies, including Zoom and Skype, have been utilized, particularly for committee business and to facilitate parliamentary staff working from home. Some Members, such as New Zealand and Vanuatu, have livestreamed sittings on PTV, Facebook and YouTube, to mitigate the public not being able to access parliament physically. Some themes of challenge include cyber security, network stability, changes to procedural rules to enable such virtual solutions, and third-party use of material. However, opportunities abound and the situation has hastened some of the technological and procedural changes needed to enhance public engagement and accessibility.

The UNDP Pacific Office has provided significant support to a number of parliaments in the region around ICT over the last quarter, and works closely with Australia, New Zealand, and the IPU to harmonize the sharing of knowledge.

More generally, technology has been employed to continue regional networking through various webinars and technical support as well. For example, the Pacific Floating Budget Office initiative with the Legislative Assembly of Tonga was conducted remotely with a team including researchers from the Republic of Fiji and New Zealand.

The CIP Pacific regional hub intends to hold a virtual Zoom meeting over the next month, to discuss the information systems and technology (IST) challenges and opportunities of this time. 

The Pacific hub’s Yammer group continues to grow in membership and Members have found examples from around the globe useful as we adjust to the “new normal”.

Pacific hub

Yammer, new members and a workshop

Pacific hub

The New Zealand Parliament regional hub team initiated the Pacific Yammer space and recruitment of members (the Pacific region IPU Members include: Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). Through the Yammer space it published resources and started discussion threads (for example, business continuity, social media benchmarks, and an outline of an ICT assessment report).

In October 2019, a parliamentary outreach and citizen engagement workshop was held in Samoa organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Representatives from 11 Pacific Island parliaments attended the workshop: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, with resource people from Australia and New Zealand. Participants were mainly staff responsible for community engagement in their parliaments. The use of digital technology was discussed widely throughout the training. It was recognized that social media had become an important community engagement tool for Pacific Island parliaments, as it had for parliaments around the world. Some Pacific Island parliaments have actively embraced social media, others are cautiously adopting it, and some have yet to take it up. The workshop participants agreed that it would be useful to establish a Pacific benchmark or standard for social media use by Pacific Island parliaments. Such a benchmark would enable parliaments already using social media to measure their performance against an agreed benchmark. As for other events, Hub co-convenor Hans Landon-Lane (New Zealand) presented at the regional Australasian Study of Parliament Group and the Pacific Parliamentary Forum in 2019 on social media disruption.

Pacific hub

Building membership, delivering training

Pacific hub

The Parliament of New Zealand as host continues to build membership and resources in the hub’s Yammer space. A Citizens Engagement and Public Outreach training for Pacific Parliaments will be held in association with UNDP in Samoa in October. The New Zealand Parliament will provide a resource person and promote the regional hub for education, engagement and ICT officers.

Pacific hub

Setting up the Pacific hub

Pacific hub

The Parliament of New Zealand has recently agreed with the IPU to host a hub for parliaments in the Pacific region. Discussions are underway on the organisation of this hub and its potential activities, including adding key regional stakeholders from each parliament into the hub’s Yammer collaboration tool. The host hopes to host in 2020 a meeting of the regional hub partners in the Pacific. 

New Zealand is beginning to populate the Yammer region space with useful templates, guides, and discussion threads (such as effective use of social media, development of vision for ICT and e-Parliament strategic planning, security, open data and cloud technology). Parliament will encourage regional stakeholders to add to the discussion once the threads are set up.

Further discussions with some of the partner parliaments will be held during the regional Presiding Officers and Clerks Conference in July 2019.

The hosts look forward to working with the Centre’s other hubs and exchanging innovative parliamentary working methods.

Pacific hub