Honiara, October 29 – The Ministry of Women Youth Children and Family Affairs and the Ministry of Traditional Governance Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs, supported by UN Women and the UN Development Programme, handed over the developed and validated gender-sensitive recommendations to the Government to be included in the revised Traditional Governance, Customs and Facilitation Bill (TGCFB) 2018.
In 2019, the Bills and Legislative Committee (BLC) withdrew the Traditional Governance Bill due to the lack of consultations with the Solomon Islands Bar Association, civil society organizations, churches, women and youth. To address these concerns, UN Women and UNDP partnered with the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs to conduct a series of consultations involving 223 women leaders from all nine provinces, including Honiara.
In acknowledging the Recommendations, Hon. Samuel Manetoali, Minister for Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs, said that the outcome directly “fulfils other currently undergoing processes within the Ministry”.
Hon. Manetoali noted the Recommendations testify to the essence of inclusively and active participation of the women of this country in “marshalling together their collective and represented views and inputs”.
In conclusion, Hon. Manetoali added that the Recommendations provide an “equitable gendered-based lens and outlook to the ongoing legislative process of the Bill and serve as significant contribution and transformative peacebuilding efforts”.
Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, Permanent Secretary Dr Cedrick Alependava, the Permanent Secretary for the MWYCFA, noted that achieving gender equality and developing gender-sensitive legislation is one of the priorities of the National Development Strategy.
“We are grateful to see our partners today who supported us and made it possible. This is a joint accomplishment! By combining the principles of equity and equality regarding traditions and culture, we will be able to build a strong law,” Dr Alependava said.
Dr Alependava further described the handed over recommendations to the Traditional Governance Bill as “concrete plans and workable strategies that realize the full potential of women and enhance their vital role in socio-economic development across Solomon Islands.”
“We are honored to partner with UN Women and UNDP on developing an inclusive Traditional Governance Bill, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration to support women and youth of Solomon Islands,” Dr Alependava concluded.
Ms. Audrey M Manu, UN Women Project Manager, pointed out that the Traditional Governance Bill preparatory sessions for women leaders are “policy action and best practice exchange.”
“Involving women and youth in developing the Bill’s amendments is a critical foundation for progress. With it, we can track, coordinate, reallocate and learn what’s working and what’s not. But we need to improve this foundation, and I’m delighted to see that we’re succeeding in that,” Ms. Manu pointed out.
With the 2030 Agenda as a guiding thread, UNDP and UN Women work to advance people’s civic and political life, economic empowerment, and role as peace- and resilience-builders.
The handover of the gender-sensitive recommendations was organized by the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs with the support from UN Women and UNDP Solomon Islands through its Inclusive Governance of Natural Resources (IGNR) Project funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund.