UNDP was proud to hand over a new Resource Centre, with a computer room with 10 new terminals, Wi-Fi access for parliament, an office and conference room facilities.
In Buka for Bougainville Day, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Roy Trivedy, joined the President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB) Chief Dr John Momis, Vice President Raymond Masono, Speaker of BHOR, Simon Pentanu and other community and government representatives to cut a ribbon and officially open the Centre.
"This is a fantastic step for the future of the Bougainville House of Representatives that will upgrade parliament's communication systems from paper-based to electronic by providing access to wireless internet services and four servers to store and share key documents,” said Trivedy.
"This new state-of-the-art information and technology communication system provides Members access to parliament documents, reports, statements and the internet to research and assist their work in parliament as well as in their constituencies."
Speaker Pentanu said the Resource Centre will provide a lot of support to Parliamentarians: "When I came in, there were a lot of members who were not aware of what their roles were, what they needed to do in terms of taking the referendum issues along and other things and it was clear that the kind of assistance members needed was equipping them with the facilities and right advice and training, so that they would value themselves and their roles as Parliamentarians much more.
"We now have access to internet, we now have access to Wi-Fi and we can communicate and improve ourselves and our electorates.
“This Centre will improve a lot of the members in terms of their own participation, understanding and research to be better able to contribute to decision-making processes. For instance, some members can also use the facility to do their own research - if there is a debate about weapons disposal or other items - they can go to google and find information."
Pentanu said members have also had basic computer training at the university Centre and he has witnessed a marked improvement in how members are approaching their responsibilities using new skills.
The Resource Centre compliments other developments supported by the UNDP in the BHOR, including a backup generator to ensure frequent power outages didn't adjourn parliament, a state-of-the-art Hansard recording system has now been put in place inside the chamber, allowing parliamentary sessions to be recorded onto a central server and therefore eliminate the need to transcribe these sessions via pen and paper.
During his visit to Bougainville, the UN Resident Coordinator also visited Wakunia District in Central Bougainville with representatives from the BHOR and PNG Government for Bougainville Day celebrations at the town's oval.
In Bougainville, UNDP is providing funding and technical assistance on a range of parliamentary strengthening activities as well as the implementation of the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) and referendum preparations, following requests from the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. The BPA, signed in 2001 by the Government of PNG and Leaders of Bougainville, ended a decade-long armed conflict in 2001 and provides a roadmap for the work being conducted by UNDP in Bougainville.
(Bougainville House of Representatives Information and Communications Technology Systems Manager, Richard Vatoro, inside the parliament Resource Centre. Behind him is a computer room with 10 new terminals and other rooms provide a conference area and office)