12 Aug 2005

Marshalls leaders hear Forum interpretation of good governance

10:29 am on 12 August 2005

Parliament leaders in the Marshall Islands have been told that strengthening non-government organisations and participation by people in policy decisions is a key part of good governance.

The message has come during a seminar from the Pacific Islands Forum as part of an initiative to improve governance.

Forum Secretariat official Mose Saitala says the problems of government instability and fiscal mismanagement in the region had prompted the Forum heads of state to agree on eight principles of 'good governance'.

The Forum's Laisiasa Tora says the quality of governance has significant effects on the quality of life in the region.

Mr Tora told leaders in the Marshalls capital, Majuro, that governments in the region are over-centralised, and there's a lack of transparency in government.

He said the term 'good governance' wasn't limited to the need for government to

balance their budgets and reduce corruption.

Mr Tora said it included the need to ensure the people's participation in the decision making process, increasing the involvement of non-governmental and civil society organisations.