Relatively new democratic institutions, weak rule of law and nascent civil society undermine the Pacific Islands’ capacity to become self-reliant. USAID reinforces the foundations of good governance by encouraging all citizens — including women, youth and other marginalized groups — to participate in democratic processes. USAID also promotes government accountability and transparency by encouraging citizen engagement and implementation of effective policies.
Strengthening Democratic Governance in the Pacific Islands
Strengthening Democratic Governance in the Pacific Islands project advances citizen-responsive democratic governance in Pacific island countries by focusing on four key areas: 1) Promoting meaningful participation of all citizens in their political systems, including women, youth, and other traditionally marginalized groups; 2) Harnessing the comparative advantages of media and technology to promote citizen understanding and engagement and transparent political competition; 3) Promoting the integrity of elections as a sustainable vehicle for peacefully and democratically choosing leaders; and 4) facilitating the ability of elected political actors to fulfill their responsibilities to citizens through better governance practices. Project activities will empower traditionally marginalized stakeholders, promote transparency and accountability in elections and government, and, where appropriate, promote regional cooperation and strengthen regional networks to share best practices across the region.
The project provided critical assistance to ensure the conduct of a free, fair, peaceful and credible referendum in Bougainville in November 2019. For example, the project supported the Bougainville Referendum Commission to successfully complete a three-phased enrolment process for the first time in Papua New Guinea. As a result, 17,000 new and first-time voters were enrolled. The project also increased political empowerment of persons with disabilities and women from 10 Pacific Island countries in FY 2019 through various training activities. This included working with a local partner, Pacific Disability Forum, to train women with disabilities on advocacy-related skills to better influence public policy, and a political leadership training for youth with disabilities in Bougainville.