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GEWE Committee to interview candidates for CEO of National GBV Secretariat

A parliamentary hearing will be held by the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) tomorrow, 18 July 2023, to interview candidates shortlisted by the Department of Personnel Management (DPM) for the position of Director of the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Secretariat.

The position of Director is a crucial role that will guide the establishment of the first ever National GBV Secretariat. The Secretariat will be responsible for driving the implementation of the National GBV Strategy (2016-2025) and coordinating implementation across national government agencies as well as the provinces.

Parliamentary Committee members at the May 2023 public hearings

The National GBV Secretariat was supposed to be established in 2017, in accordance with a decision of the National Executive Council, but approval and recruitment of key positions has been delayed for many years. The Special Parliamentary Committee on GBV drew attention to this deficiency in its two public hearings and two Reports to Parliament.

Recommendation 6 of the Special Parliamentary Committee’s 2022 Report stated that “The Government must urgently (1) ensure the SRC approves the NGBVS CEO position at an appropriate level to ensure a qualified leader an be recruited; (2) task DPM with recruiting the remaining 10 NGBVS staff, who must have sufficient GBV qualifications to ensure they can effectively drive the implementation of the National GBV Strategy with government and non-government partners”.

Applications for the position of Director and all other positions in the National GBV Secretariat were advertised from 1 May to 12 May 2023. The new Permanent Parliamentary Committee on GEWE held their first public hearings from 24-26 May 2023. They were told by the Department for Community Development and Religion (DFCDR), which houses the interim National GBV Secretariat, that the recruitments had still not been completed by that time. The Committee strongly urged DFCDR to make the recruitments their top priority.

The GEWE Committee Chair, Governor Powes Parkop, and Deputy Chair, Governor Allan Bird, have since been liaising closely with DPM and DFCDR to encourage them to prioritise the recruitment of the National GBV Secretariat Director. Recognising the important oversight role that the GEWE Committee plays, DPM has now invited the shortlisted candidates to appear before the Committee, as part of the vetting process.

The vetting process will be undertaken by the Committee from 10am on 18 July 2023, at Parliament Haus. Each shortlisted candidate has been invited to appear before the Committee. Candidates will be asked to present their vision for the Secretariat to the Committee, to indicate how they plan to implement the mandate of the Secretariat and work with stakeholders.

The Committee hearings will be livestreamed on the Committee facebook page, as usual. This will allow the public to hear from each candidate and to witness a more transparent and accountable recruitment process for this critical role.

In addition to Chairman Parkop and Deputy Chair Allan Bird, the Committee has 5 other members, namely; Governor Rufina Peter (Central Province); Hon. Marsh Narewec, (Wau Waria); Hon. Ricky Morris (Alotau); Hon. William Bando (Koroba Lake Kopiago); and Hon. Lohia Boe Samuel (Port Moresby North West).

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been providing technical support to the new Parliamentary Committee on GEWE as part of its Parliamentary Strengthening Project, which is funded by the Australian Government. This support aims to support the National Parliament, its members and its Committee to engage in more effective law-making, oversight and representation in the discharge of their constitutional mandates.

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