Port Moresby, 19 July 2020 - Without greater numbers of women in Parliament, as an institution it will never be truly representative of all Papua New Guineans.
In preparation for the 2022 National General Elections, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates Commission (IPPCC) have commenced efforts to drive a critical national initiative. This initiative aims to raise awareness on the importance of getting women into Papua New Guinea’s highest lawmaking institution, the National Parliament.
The initiative aims to raise greater awareness among potential women candidates on how to register to contest in the 2022 national elections. Having recently commenced, efforts are now focusing on encouraging more women to participate in political and electoral processes, in particular standing for Parliament at the next National General Election.
UNDP’s Resident Representative, Mr. Dirk Wagener said, “It remains an impediment to national development when a Parliament does not reflect half of its population. Parliaments work best when they reflect the views of all people. Getting women into the National Parliament is essential to achieving this. Disappointingly, Papua New Guinea is one of only five countries in the world with a Parliament that has no female members.”
At present, there are no women holding seats in the National Parliament. Despite much discussion over recent years on a range of measures to address this, little progress has been made. There remain many structural and traditional impediments that hamper women candidates running and competing in electoral campaigns. Training, education and awareness are important first steps to change this.
The Registrar of Political Parties, and head of IPPCC Dr. Alphonse Gelu in support of UNDP said, “political parties play a vital role in shaping policy and influencing development. As the Registrar of Political Parties, I have been leading work on reforms to better structure and organize our political parties as important institutions to promote good governance and uphold democratic principles. The call for intending women candidates to register with my office will enable us to engage with them well before the 2022 elections.”
Such initiatives are in line with Papua New Guinea’s Constitution and its state obligations as a Party to the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Sustainable Development Goals as they ensure support is provided to women to engage in the political life of the country through political parties.
Registration for interested women can be accessed using this link: https://tiny.cc/IPPCCRegistration
UNDP and IPPCC will hold information sessions to provide details on this initiative and other work in support of efforts to promote women’s leadership.
This initiative is being delivered under the Women Make the Change Programme of which UNDP is a critical implementing partner.