WFD started working in the Maldives in July 2019. The Maldives programme has two main focus areas; enhancing the operation of parliamentary committees to promote accountability and scrutiny of laws, and strengthening of parliamentary processes and procedures for the Parliament to become a more inclusive, gender-responsive and accountable institution. WFD’s work in the Maldives supports MPs, parliamentary staff and civil society organisations through exposure, technical assistance and capacity building opportunities.
Since the introduction of a new constitution in 2008, the parliament, political parties, independent institutions and civil society organisations have played a key role in promoting democracy in the Maldives. During 2008-2012, many stakeholders recognised a positive contribution to that development only to witness, over the next few years, momentum stall, and in some instances reversed, with severe constraints on space for political and civic engagement.
The presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 and 2019 respectively confirmed the Maldivian people’s desire for change. Following Maldivian Democratic Party’s (MDP) election promise of transformational change, the Maldivian people overwhelmingly voted for the MDP led coalition in the presidential elections and enabled MDP to secure a 2/3 majority in the parliament. The challenge before the new parliament and government is clear; to transition, from a system of authoritarian and highly centralised governance to one that prioritises decentralisation, the rule of law and independent and inclusive democratic institutions. The process of change is ambitious, challenging and complex, with multiple actors and strands of reform. Yet, these developments present a unique window of opportunity to make progress.
Having led the induction and orientation of newly appointed MPs in July 2019, WFD is supporting the Maldives parliament to improve its processes and procedures. This is being done by sharing expertise and training parliamentary staff and MPs on legislative drafting, developing a new code of conduct and supporting the parliament in drafting a strategic plan.
WFD is providing technical support to parliamentarians and staff to scruitinise laws and policies with a gender sensitive lens. The aim is to build institutional capacity that leads to he parliament becoming a gender-responsive and inclusive legislature.
WFD is supporting the parliamentary leadership, chairs, vice chairs and officials of key scrutiny and oversight committees through sharing experiences and expertise. This also includes working with the committees on thematic areas such as Environment and Climate Change, and Human Rights and Gender.