Herr, R, Samoa Legislative Assembly Legislative Needs Assessment, UNDP, Canberra, Australia, 1 (2011) [Consultants Report]
Copyright 2011 UNDP
The Parliament of Samoa invited the United Nations Development Programme’s Pacific Centre regional office to undertake a Legislative Needs Assessment (LNA) in order to identify opportunities for institutional strengthening. The UNDP commissions LNAs as a basis for determining long-term parliamentary support activities. The purpose of this LNA therefore is to identify processes, resources and means by which the Parliament of Samoa might better secure its democratic objectives, including meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), as a Westminster legislature. These include greater efficiency and effectiveness in legislative performance, executive scrutiny/oversight and popular representation. In order to promote these ends, the LNA makes recommendations to contribute to Samoa’s improved governance aims, in keeping with the national heritage and circumstances of Samoa. A parallel objective of the LNA mechanism is to identify practical and appropriate ways that the international community can assist Samoa in strengthening the institution and processes of the Parliament.
The consultations for this LNA were carried out in Apia between 2 and 9 February 2011 under a programme of interviews and meetings largely managed by the Parliament’s Inter-Parliamentary Relations Office, with input from the UNDP Pacific Centre and the consultant. The range of consultations was as extensive as permitted by the time available and the exigencies of the national elections which were then in progress. Conducting the consultations during an election campaign was itself something of a double-edged sword. There were significant difficulties in gaining access to all of those whom it would have been desirable to meet. On the other hand, watching the campaign and the interactions between the customary system and the formal electoral issue proved very useful in understanding the practical dynamics of electing a parliament in contemporary Samoa.
The 2011 national election was held during the course of writing this report. As consequence, some circumstances changed that impacted on the content of the report. It is not clear that all aspects of the election have been settled even as the final words of the report were drafted. It is unlikely, however, that these would affect significant elements of the conclusions reached, though the possibility cannot be discounted. Hopefully, any adjustment in the recommendations that would be required by such changes will be clear from the overall context of the report.
The consultant wishes to thank all who assisted in the conduct of the fieldwork for this LNA for their assistance and patience. Their advice has been essential and their hospitality very much appreciated. The consultant offers sincere gratitude and best wishes for the success of the Samoan Parliament in its democratic role of serving the people of Samoa. It was a personal honour to have served in this enterprise, however briefly, and the consultant hopes it will contribute to improving the Parliament’s capacity to achieve its goals.
|Item Type:||Consultants Report|
|Research Division:||Law and Legal Studies|
|Research Field:||Law not elsewhere classified|
|Objective Division:||Law, Politics and Community Services|
|Objective Group:||Justice and the Law|
|Objective Field:||Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified|
|Author:||Herr, R (Associate Professor Richard Herr)|
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