Samoa is part of a pioneering Pacific regional group which participated in a year-long capacity-building programme for non-state actors (N.S.A’s) on ‘Engaging in Regional Level Policy.’
They met at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (P.I.F.S.) in Suva for the final Peer Learning and Exchange Workshop last week.
The group comprising 26 participants from 14 countries, Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, began the capacity-building programme in August 2016.
The “Strengthening Non-State Actors Engagement in Regional Policy Development and Implementation Programme” (the NSA Programme) is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
The Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific Christoph Wagner said: “The one year capacity-building module is an innovative approach the EU would like to further promote, enhancing the ability of Non-State Actors to engage in Regional policy making and implementation. This training strengthens their capacity to perform their role as independent and credible development actors.”
“The overall objective of the programme is to promote good governance in the Pacific and ensure that N.S.A. perspectives are reflected in effective regional policy development processes and dialogues, and one way to achieve effective participation of N.S.As is through capacity-building of emerging N.S.A. leaders,” Cristelle Pratt, the Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, said.
“We are already seeing positive outcomes wherein participants have been able to apply theory to practice in their individual projects as well as demonstrated linkages between N.S.As’ engagements in Forum activities such as their active participation in the 2017 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting held earlier this year.”
Participants’ learning revolved around the intricacies of policy development, evidence-gathering and the effective use of data to develop an advocacy plan and coalition-building. The programme comprised a series of workshops, with each participant working on an individual learning project throughout the course of the year.
“NSAs throughout the Pacific region are representative of diverse constituencies and have a key role to play in regional policy-making processes and implementation,” Crystal Johnston, NSA programme manager, said.
“The capacity-building programme is designed to develop technical skills and competencies in policy engagement such advocacy, analysis and participation.”