UNDP supports Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Tokelau to strengthen their democratic governing institutions so they can promote and protect the rights of all citizens, ensure accountability and transparency at all levels of government, and foster more inclusive economic and social development. Ultimately all these efforts aim to support governments in the region to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
In the Cook Islands, assistance focuses on creating an enabling institutional environment that maximises the use of ICTs to increase public sector efficiencies and reduce barriers to accessing electronic information.
In Niue, initiatives include enhancing information management in public services, further developing e- learning to increase ICT access in rural areas and in the outer islands, and strengthening e-tourism to boost the country’s marketing strategy.
For Tokelau, an e-government project covering all telecommunications is linked to an overall good governance programme including drafting the constitution, strengthening the legal framework, training local authorities, and gender mainstreaming.
Highlights in Samoa include an innovative approach to powering computer systems in school buses using solar panels and wind energy. The mobile e-learning bus will also deliver essential teaching materials and curriculum to teachers and students in isolated district schools. Greater use of computers and the internet is expected with greater visibility of the Samoan language in ICTs.
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Strengthening local governance can play a critical role in human development. Decentralizing power from the centre to the provinces, districts and villages enables women and men to participate in decision-making directly, and to hold local officials and politicians more accountable to the communities and individuals they are meant to serve.
The development of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for a geographically isolated country like Samoa is paramount in the Government's plans to minimize distances between Samoans living overseas and their homeland on the remote islands, as well as increase their access to vital information about national issues and development plans.