UN-HABITAT’s renowned Locally Elected Leadership Series which is widely used in more than 55 countries has recently been introduced to one of the most remote locations in the region – Kiritimati, or Christmas Island, Kiribati. The remote Pacific island located is 3,250kms from the Kiribati capital, Tarawa, and 2,150kms from Hawaii.
The programme, carried out by four qualified trainers was attended by 32 Councillors from Christmas, Washington and Fanning Island Councils. Some of whom travelled three days on a cargo ship to reach the training venue.
Traditionally, very little attention has been given to Leadership Training, particularly for elected leaders who by virtue of their office have important roles, responsibilities and obligations to the people they represent. The culture of the region has tended to favoured ‘big man’ politics whereby elected leaders have a very laissez-faire approach to their roles and responsibilities.
In response to this need, UN-HABITAT has been closely collaborating with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum to create a pool of qualified local government trainers for this unique region of the world. To date, some 30 trainers are working accross 8 pacific Islands states including Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Tonga, and Fiji. The training series has been received with enthusiasm and widely supported by governments of the region thanks to the support provided by UNDP, NZAID and AUSAID.