Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Opening Statement by ASG Fong Toy at Fiji Cultural Industries Workshop, 28-31 October, Suva, Fiji

Fiji Cultural Industries Workshop: Organising Your Business or Group
28 – 31 October 2014
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Main Conference Room and Committee Room A

Opening Statement
Andie Fong Toy
Acting Secretary General
Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Mr Johnny Engell- Hansen, Chargé d’ Affaires a.i, European Union Delegation for the Pacific
Mr Laisiasa Veikoso, Director of the Fiji Arts Council
Dr Elise Huffer, Human Development Programme Adviser - Culture,
Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Resource Persons and Participants

1. A warm welcome to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. We are pleased to convene
this workshop in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, reflecting our
commitment to provide support for the development of cultural industries in the Pacific. I
understand that some of you have participated in earlier workshops to support Fiji’s cultural
industries, and it is pleasing to witness the continuity in building your capacities.

2. The specialised workshop this week is focused on assisting you to organise yourselves
into appropriate cultural industries subsectors. May I at the outset, acknowledge the funding
assistance for the workshop from the ACP-EU Support Programme for the ACP Cultural Sector
under the 10th European Development Fund.

3. The Pacific region is extremely rich in culture and traditions. It is a resource that has
untapped development potential. In all our regional interactions, including meetings of Leaders,
Ministers and Senior Officials, we are reminded of our rich cultural diversity, a diversity with a
regional dimension and that affects our daily lives. Our cultures, traditions, languages, social
values, behaviours, and other resilient aspects of our livelihood, allow us to deal with the
challenges we face through globalisation, climate change and other calamities. The cultural
traditions of our people give us the shared purpose that is so important for our region.
Sustainably and sensitively developing our cultural industries will support our rich diversity. Fiji
is an excellent example of a rich melding of cultures that has successfully harnessed commercial
returns from its cultural traditions.

4. The Framework for Pacific Regionalism, adopted by Forum Leaders in July this year,
values the diversity and heritage of the Pacific where we seek an inclusive future in which
cultures, traditions and religious beliefs are valued, honoured and developed. The Framework
has as a principal objective, Sustainable development that combines economic, social, and
cultural development in ways that improve livelihoods and well-being and uses the environment

5. Partnerships with governments and the private sector will increase market opportunities
and improve service delivery. Supporting the cultural industry in our Pacific island countries can
make significant contributions to respective economies. Assessments of the cultural industries in
the Pacific reveal that countries that have proactively engaged in organising cultural focus
groups were able to reap significant benefits. The workshop will focus on the ways in which
such organisation can effectively occur. Through the combined efforts of the Fiji Arts Council,
the Department of Heritage, Art and Culture, SPC and PIFS, we hope that this workshop will
drive the change needed for a more organised cultural industry that is forward thinking in its
approach to cultural development.

6. The Forum Secretariat has continued to play an important role in supporting the
development of cultural industries on different fronts. This has included support to countries to
manage their traditional knowledge and intellectual property that recognises levels of
development. In addition, our Pacific Islands Trade & Invest network of offices has been
supporting Pacific artists in commercialising their art and crafts through an established exhibition
to showcase and sell their products at Maketi Ples. We have continued to support other
engagements that facilitate our artifacts being displayed in museums and international fora.

7. As the Deputy Secretary General responsible for Economic Governance at the
Secretariat, I am also privileged to be part of the Advisory Board for the Pacific Women Shaping
Pacific Development Initiative which advocates issues of gender and women’s economic
empowerment in the Pacific region. As the cultural industry is a significant source of revenue,
livelihood and employment for women, and given that the majority of creators and producers of
cultural products and services are women, the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development
Initiative should be encouraged to support the development of cultural industries in the Pacific.

8. Let me conclude by confirming that our partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific
Community will continue over the next 18 months, to support the industry and provide technical
assistance and policy support where necessary and appropriate. I would like to thank again the
European Union and its Delegation in the Pacific for the funding assistance and their continued
commitment to support broader economic and social development in the Pacific region through
the European Development Funds.

9. I wish you a constructive discussion over the next days, and I encourage you to consider
tangible ways in which productive alliances can be formed amongst the owners of cultural
expressions for improved returns on investment.


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