4 May 2006

 The following participants took part: 

From left to right: Alistair Legge, Sadhana Sen, Johnathan John, Tanuvasa I. Lemisio, Graham Hassall, Michael Maley, Helena Catt, Ross Attrill, Andrew Trawen and Jeanette Bolenga
  • Mr Ross Attrill (Assistant Director (Capacity Building Courses), International Services Section, Australian Electoral Commission (AEC));
  • Ms Jeanette Bolenga (Senior Fellow, Electoral Studies, Pacific Institute for Advanced Studies in Development and Governance (PIAS-DG), University of the South Pacific (USP));
  • Dr Helena Catt (Chief Executive, New Zealand Electoral Commission);
  • Professor Graham Hassall (Director, PIAS-DG, USP);
  • Mr Johnathan John (Acting Director of Elections, Federated States of Micronesia);
  • Mr Alistair Legge (PIANZEA Secretary, International Services Section, AEC);
  • Mr Tanuvasa  I. Lemisio (Chief Executive, Electoral Commission of Samoa);
  • Mr Michael Maley (Director, International Services, AEC);
  • Mr Fatiaki Misau (Commissioner, Fiji Electoral Commission; not present for all discussions);
  • Ms Sadhana Sen (Junior Fellow, Electoral Studies, PIAS-DG, USP); and
  • Mr Andrew Trawen (Electoral Commissioner, Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission (PNGEC)).

Messrs Attrill and Legge facilitated the meeting.  In his opening remarks, Mr Legge emphasized the need to implement BRIDGE in the Pacific in such as way as to ensure that it would be relevant and sustainable.  Dr Catt followed with a report on the BRIDGE workshop held in Auckland in February 2006, with participants from the Cook Islands, Niue, Tuvalu, New Zealand and Tonga, facilitated by a number of partially-accredited facilitators from the region.  She conveyed the strong view of the participants that it would be highly desirable for those who were only part-time electoral administrators to have the opportunity for annual BRIDGE training, which could include the chance to develop common resources which could be used across the participating countries. 

Mr Trawen reported on the BRIDGE courses recently conducted in Papua New Guinea under the AusAID-funded AEC-PNGEC “Twinning Arrangement”, and noted that he was keen to see BRIDGE used further in PNG in the runup to the 2007 election, especially for the training of returning officers. Mr Attrill noted that extensive and detailed planning had contributed to the success of the programs in PNG.  Professor Hassall noted the importance of ensuring that facilitators are given the opportunity to use their new skills.  Mr Legge outlined the way in which the BRIDGE methodology had been utilised as part of the Village Level Civic Education Program in the Solomon Islands.  Ms Bolenga described the Train the Facilitator (TTF) program hosted by PIAS-DG in June-July 2005, at which she and Ms Sen were fully accredited as BRIDGE facilitators.  Ms Sen discussed the training on media and elections which had been conducted, noting the potential benefits which could flow from better understand on both sides; Mr Legge echoed those sentiments on the basis of a similar experience in the Solomon Islands.

Professor Hassall, noting the increasing recognition of and demand for BRIDGE, emphasised that it was desirable for the Group to seek to identify a broad structure of activities which could be pursued over a five year time frame.  An article outlining these activities from 2007 to 2011 will be submitted to this site once they have be formally agreed to.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr Maley thanked: Professor Hassall and his PIAS-DG colleagues for their kindness in hosting the meeting, and for their enthusiastic support for the ongoing use of BRIDGE in the Pacific; all participants for their constructive and useful inputs; and Messrs Legge and Attrill for the work they had done to prepare for the meeting.


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