10 July 2020, Auki, Solomon Islands – Indigenous Solomon Islanders since the immemorial have always lived under their own systems of governance within their own customary jurisdictions. In the early days, these systems facilitated the unification and collaboration between different groups existing within the country.
A series of consultations on the Traditional Governance and Customs Facilitation Bill, was held in Auki together with the Malaita Provincial government, community leaders, women, and youth representatives. The Traditional Governance Bill is a priority for Solomon Islands government as it provides for the institutionalization, management and regulation of traditional governance systems.
Speaking at the official opening with the Malaita Provincial Assembly, Premier Daniel Suidani expressed his gratitude to the MTGPEA for consulting the provincial assembly leaders on the Bill. Premier Suidani stressed the importance of the Bill, to the people of Malaita adding that Traditional Governance touches the lives of his people.
50 women representing all 33 wards in Malaita during their consultation segment strongly recommended inclusivity. Alice Teioli of Ward 1 said it is time to consider including women in the decision-making process.
Youth representatives concluded the day with recommendations ranging from involving youths in the Traditional Bill set up structures to mending and strengthening the knowledge gap between elders and youths.
Director of MTGPEA Chris Tabea said it is the Ministry’s priority to consult provincial government, leaders and all stakeholders in Malaita to ensure that a wide range of views are collected. He commended the engagement and important contribution made during the consultation process.
IGNR Project Manager Gaylyn Puairana emphasized UNDP’s readiness to partner and support the Solomon Islands government in advancing peacebuilding efforts in the country. “We are proud to support and provide space for the important dialogue,” Ms. Puairana said.
The consultations were facilitated by the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs (MTGPEA) in partnership with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and family Affairs; and funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, under the Inclusive Governance of Natural Resources (IGNR) Project.