Building on the success of the Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme (CLGGPS) currently in PNG, the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF Pacific) and Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA National) are working together to expand the GPS into the Pacific.
In 2011, LGMA submitted a proposal for the expansion of the GPS to members of the Pacific Capital Cities Forum under the AusAID Public Sector Linkages Program. Based on feedback from AusAID, this was revised to focus specifically on Kiribati.
The aim of the Kiribati GPS (K-GPS) program was to establish and build on the partnership between Australia and Kiribati for the purpose of increasing local government capacity across the 3 urban and 20 island local governments in a phased and regional approach. The Program proposed to run for three years (2013 to 2015) with a budget of around AUD$3million.
Unfortunately, due to Australia Government Funding cuts, the program was not approved. CLGF Pacific has since allocated regional program budget to initiating the program in 2013.
In May 2013, a team from Kiribati including the Director for Local Government (Ms Amina Uriam) and Town Clerk of Teinainano Urban Council (Ms Tekotaake Keariki) met with the Hunter Group of Councils and Local Government Training Institute to initiate discussions around a potential partnership.
This week (June 10th), the Hunter Group of Councils (Australia) will be undertaking a scoping mission to Kiribati to explore the possibility of establishing a twinning partnership with key Kiribati Local Government Sector partners in particular the Betio Town Council and Teinainano Urban Council. The mission will provide an opportunity for the key partners to meet, identify issues and priorities and develop an agreed partnership approach. Some of the priority areas for capacity support include strategic planning, waste management, financial management and sustainability. Aprat from these two urban councils, the team will also meet with a number of stakeholders including the Ministry of Internal and Social Affairs (MISA), the Kiribati Local Government Association (KiLGA) and the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT).
Other aspects of the mission will include scoping the training needs of the Kiribati local government sector as well as investigating ICT capacities in terms of infrastructure, providers and access to different forms of information technology to better improve communication and overall ICT capacity of local governments in Kiribati.