The University of the South Pacific (USP) Tonga Campus has had another breakthrough with the Right to Information (RTI) opening ceremony being graced by respected dignitaries.
Present at the ceremony were the CEO of Tonga Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC), Mr Paula Ma’U; USP Vice-Chancellor & President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, the British High Commissioner to the Kingdom of Tonga, Her Excellency Ms Lucy Joyce; the New Zealand Deputy High Commissioner to the Kingdom of Tonga, His Excellency Mr Peter Lund, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Resident Representative, Ms Yemesrach Workie, CEO of the Office of Ombudsman Tonga, Ms Alisi Afeaki Taumoepeau, Tonga Campus Director, Dr Robin Havea and Tonga USPSA Representative, Tepola Lolohea.
The week of dialogue and advocacy events is intended to promote and expand RTI as a tool for fighting corruption and as a crucial component of participatory government.
The Guest of Honour, Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications CEO, Mr Paula Ma’U welcomed the strong engagement in promoting RTI in Tonga.
He said, “I have no doubt that this week of RTI awareness and advocacy workshops will help the people of Tonga to understand the importance of being accountable, transparent and corrupt-free in every practice or platform whether in print mediums or through online information”.
The USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia who graced the event virtually, welcomed the distinguished guests to the opening ceremony and expressed his gratitude to UNDP for the collaboration to strengthen the anti-corruption, transparency and accountability through these RTI projects in the Pacific.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia said, “RTI is a critical tool to improve government transparency and accountability as well as reduce corruption. These sessions have been done in different parts of the Pacific and I believe, it is going to make a difference as we bring awareness to these issues”.
Professor Pal Ahluwalia concluded his speech by acknowledging the RTI project coordinator, Associate Professor Bibhya Sharma, for organising and hosting the RTI event and for facilitating various workshops for students and stakeholders in the Pacific.
The Week of Right to Information Dialogue & Advocacy in Tonga which is organized by USP’s School of Information Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics (STEMP) in partnership with the UNDP Pacific Office emphasises strengthening Anti-corruption, Transparency and Accountability in Pacific Island Countries.
This project is funded by the Government of the United Kingdom and the ‘United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption Project’ (UNPRAC) funded by the Government of New Zealand.