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Memento : Issue 36
24 NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF AUSTRALIA Recordkeeping in the Pacific Islands: a toolkit for success Imagine trying to do your job in an office where the electricity sometimes goes out for hours at a time, you don't have nearly enough money, there are no written procedures, and hardly anyone has received the training they need. This is the reality facing many Pacific Islands governments. Archivists from across the Pacific are now developing tools to help overcome some of these problems. The Recordkeeping for Good Governance Toolkit is an initiative of the Pacific Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives, known as PARBICA. It aims to provide practical tools that Pacific Islands governments can use to improve recordkeeping in their administrations. The National Archives is currently coordinating the project on behalf of PARBICA with funding from AusAID, the Australian Government's international aid agency. The work has been guided by archivists from countries around the Pacific, including Fiji, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, and the state of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia. Developing the tools Good recordkeeping underpins public sector efficiency and accountability. In turn, this helps to ensure that governments meet their legal obligations and protect the rights and entitlements of their citizens. With good recordkeeping systems, governments can be more efficient as they can easily find the information they need when they need it. Good recordkeeping also improves decision-making, because all of the relevant information about a past action or process can be found in the right place. Accountability is improved when organisations keep comprehensive evidence of their actions and decisions. This is true in any government. In the Pacific, where funds are limited and specialist training opportunities are sometimes few and far between, it is very difficult for archivists to find the help they need to provide recordkeeping guidance to their governments. Often, tools developed in countries like Australia are inappropriate because they don't take account of local language, resource and training issues. The National Archives of Australia has worked with archivists in Pacific countries to develop a world-leading toolkit that will help Pacific Islands governments keep better records.