By: Ngewakl Soaladaob

The Ministry of State’s Bureau of Domestic A airs is partnering with the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) for the second phase of the “Local Governance Strengthening Project.” The initiative focuses on enhancing the capabilities of state executive and legislative o ces and Bureau of Domestic A airs. It also looks into methods for citizens to take an active role in policy-making, ensuring their voices get to the decision-makers.
Dr Lucy Mathieson and Luisa Senibulu from UNDP, visited Palau this week for the project. While the project’s rst phase is underway in ve state governments — Aimeliik, Hathaboei, Kayangel, Melekeok, and Ngeremlengui — the next phase aims to encompass all 16 states.
The project has 3 primary objectives. Firstly, to reinforce the capabilities of state leadership, o cials, and citizens. Secondly, it aims to cultivate a deeper relationship with the Bureau of Domestic A airs while providing essential training to stakeholders. Lastly, the project focuses on enhancing community engagement, ensuring a robust outreach to the citizenry of Palau.
Throughout the past week, the UNDP representatives met with state o cials, non-government organisations (NGOs), and local communities, o ering them insights into the project’s milestones and discussing future plans. Additionally, the Palau Media Council was able to meet with UNDP and the Bureau of Domestic A airs to understand the project’s depth and explore opportunities for integration into the project.
Project coordinators also initiated dialogues with o cials from the 11 states not in the pilot program to discuss their inclusion in the second phase.
During a recent interview, the project manager, Luisa Senibulu, said, “In terms of how the project is progressing, I think we’ve done quite a bit of good work with the states, also with the communities.” Sinigulu highlighted the major achievements, such as the launch of a public nancial management manual in three states and the successful introduction of governance clinics in the pilot states. She further added, “These clinics have been really well received and it’s been very inclusive in terms of participation by traditional leaders, young people, women, and all citizens discussing and dialoguing on issues that they are passionate about and that concerns them.”
The project’s second phase may expand to four objectives, building on the foundation laid in the rst phase. To facilitate this expansion from ve to 16 states, BDA Director Eunice Akiwo noted that the project will need a larger budget moving forward.

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