The Role of Digital Transformation and ICT in Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy in the Pacific Region

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In today’s rapidly evolving world, technological advancements are revolutionizing the way people communicate, work, and interact with one another. As a result, it has become crucial for governments and political institutions to adapt their practices and leverage these emerging technologies to keep pace with the changing landscape. This essay will delve deeper into the use of digital transformation and information and communication technology (ICT) in strengthening parliamentary democracy in the Pacific region. We will discuss the challenges faced by these parliaments, the various initiatives employed to address them, and the potential long-term effects of embracing these new technologies.


The Impact of Technology on Parliaments:


New technologies have had a significant impact on parliaments’ operational environments, as well as on the public and private sectors and the cultural landscape. The Covid-19 pandemic further highlighted the need for agile and adaptable systems. A parliament that can harness new tools is well positioned to connect with its citizens, strengthening internal systems and making processes more transformative. Social networks and open-data are also exciting parts of this conversation.


In the digital age, the integration of technology into parliamentary processes has numerous benefits, including increased accessibility, transparency, efficiency, and collaboration. Parliaments can engage with their constituents more effectively, track and report on legislative processes, and improve communication and coordination among members and staff. Furthermore, digital tools enable parliaments to monitor and address emerging issues in real-time, ensuring that they remain responsive and relevant.


Challenges Faced by Pacific Parliaments:


The Pacific region, made up of thousands of islands spread across vast oceans, faces unique challenges in terms of ICT. High business and government transaction costs, irregularity of cargo and freight, and limited communication infrastructure create obstacles for these parliaments. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on governance systems and structures, making it even more important for parliaments to maintain openness, transparency, and public trust through digital means.


These challenges highlight the need for innovative and tailored solutions to address the specific requirements of Pacific parliaments. As the digital divide between urban and rural areas grows, it becomes increasingly essential for these parliaments to invest in ICT infrastructure and capacity-building initiatives to ensure that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.


Initiatives and Solutions Employed:


To address these challenges, Pacific parliaments have adopted various initiatives to strengthen their democracies. One example is Fiji, which has been proactive in maintaining the key functions of parliament while prioritizing the safety and welfare of members and staff. By restricting public access to the parliament precinct but broadcasting plenary and committee sittings on free-to-air channels and livestreaming them on Facebook and their website, Fiji has ensured that parliamentary proceedings remain accessible to the public.


In addition, Fiji’s parliament has embraced remote work, using tools like Microsoft Office 365 and hybrid approaches that combine in-person and virtual attendance. The parliament provided members and staff with laptops, smartphones, and Wi-Fi access, enabling them to work effectively and share documents electronically. Fiji has also invested in new equipment for committee rooms, like LED screens and wired access points, to facilitate hybrid meetings. Furthermore, the parliament has integrated its video conferencing technology with its digital recording system in the chamber.


The success of Fiji’s approach can be attributed to the quick adaptation of members, who underwent basic training during the configuration of devices, and the support from the speaker and business committee in parliament. Looking ahead, Fiji aims to optimize the use of hybrid broadcast platforms and explore more cloud-based technology.


Long-term Effects and Future Challenges:


While there have been many positive outcomes from these initiatives, challenges remain for Pacific parliaments. Investment in ICT infrastructure, procurement of hardware and software, and capacity for sudden transition will be ongoing issues. Budget reductions and austerity measures may impact the ability of parliaments to invest in technology. However, proactive, multi-year approaches will be necessary to ensure long-term success.


Despite these challenges, digital tools have enabled Pacific parliaments to engage more effectively with their members and communities. They have also allowed for international meetings and discussions without the need for extensive travel. As these parliaments continue to adapt and embrace new technologies, they will be better positioned to serve their citizens and maintain healthy, innovative democracies.


The long-term effects of digital transformation and ICT integration in Pacific parliaments will likely lead to more effective and responsive governance. Through improved communication and information-sharing, these institutions can foster greater public trust and engagement. Additionally, embracing technology enables parliaments to better address emerging challenges and adapt to changing societal needs.


In the future, Pacific parliaments may need to tackle issues such as cybersecurity, data privacy, and digital accessibility to ensure that their technological solutions remain sustainable and secure. By working collaboratively and learning from one another, these parliaments can overcome these challenges and continue to strengthen their democracies.




The use of digital transformation and ICT has played a critical role in strengthening parliamentary democracy in the Pacific region. By addressing challenges related to connectivity, infrastructure, and procedural adaptations, these parliaments have taken important steps toward ensuring their long-term resilience and relevance. Continued investment in technology and collaboration among Pacific parliaments will be essential for harnessing the full potential of these digital tools and creating a more inclusive and effective democratic system.


As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and technology continues to evolve, the role of digital transformation and ICT in parliaments will become even more crucial. By staying ahead of the curve and leveraging these technologies, Pacific parliaments can ensure that they remain responsive, innovative, and well-equipped to serve their citizens in the digital age.

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