Aimeliik State, Palau (03 October 2019) – Citizens of Aimeliik State have just completed a community workshop organised by the Ministry of State and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in an effort to increase citizen’s understanding and participation on local state governance issues.

This is the third in a four-part series of community workshops aimed at empowering community members to assess their own needs and through the promotion of knowledge sharing, open debates and feedback on good governance and accountability to fuel their strong participation in local governance.

The community workshops are made possible through the Local Governance Strengthening Project (LGSP), which is a three-year joint initiative of the Government of Palau and UNDP that is expected to provide support to the Government of Palau in strengthening governance capacities at local state government levels and national capacity within the Ministry of State’s Bureau of Domestic Affairs.

These community workshops have also been hosted in the States of Melekeok and Hatohobei and are open to all citizens. To ensure the full participation of women and youth, specific consultative sessions were also arranged for these two groups.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, the Governor of Aimeliik State, Honourable Demei Obak, highlighted the importance of representation and inclusivity in the governance process.

“I am pleased to see the presence of traditional leaders, former legislators, former governors along with many strong women of the Aimeliik community,” said Hon. Obak.

“A representative and inclusive process is  important to give all sections of the community access to local government decision making process, so the needs and aspirations of all community members adequately reflected.”

He added, “Through this workshop I hope that the people of Aimeliik State will understand their roles as we  progress the development agenda of the State and I look forward to working even more closely with you all.”

Topics covered in the governance workshop included the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Constitution of Aimeliik State, the civic duties and responsibilities as well as the role of the Bureau of Domestic Affairs in connecting with different states to access support on various issues.

Echoing similar sentiments and in providing a background of the series of governance workshops,  the Minister of State, Honorable Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, highlighted the importance for community members to understand their role in relation to local government and how it delivers basic services.

“The representation of heads of clans, lineages and women in the crowd reflects the interest of the citizens of their government,” said Hon. Marugg.

“I hope that this would lead to greater involvement and participation in the planning and delivery processes of the state.”

She added, “Through the support of the LGSP, we hope that it provides an enabling environment for a closer working relationship between State governments and the national government. These governance workshops provide a good opportunity for people to know the channels by which they can get support from the national government.”

The two-day workshops were held on Tuesday 17 September and Thursday 19 September. A dedicated session for youths was held on Thursday, which saw the participation of students from elementary school, high school and the Palau Community College. This was a first time for most of the youths to have an information session on how they can voice and exercise their rights to express views and concerns to State leaders.

The two sessions of Governance Workshops for citizens were facilitated by the youth of Aimeliik State with the support of Governor Demei Obak, Speaker Teruo Rengulbai and Youth President Legislator Wridon Ngiralmau.(PR)