SG Speech/Diplomacy Training Course
SG Speech/Diplomacy Training Course

30 Oct 2006 18:52:17

University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji
Monday 30 October 2006, 10:00am

Your Excellencies
Distinguished Guests
Participants and Facilitators of this course
Ladies and Gentlemen

A very good morning to you all. Today's launch of the inaugural Pacific Diplomacy training programme is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the Forum Secretariat and the Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance. From our perspective, it is part of our mandate as your regional organisation to develop initiatives and activities relating to regional security and political integrity in the Pacific region.

2. The Forum Secretariat's interest in diplomatic training in the region stems from our Leaders' stated vision of & a region of peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity& that is respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, [and] the full observance of democratic values&

3. We hope that the knowledge you obtain and the skills you develop here over the next five weeks will enhance your abilities to help your government and your region achieve this vision. It is our hope and intention that at the end of this course you can better represent your Government's economic, security and governance interests'  both within the region and at the broader international level.

4. Further, it is our hope that you will be able to apply what you learn here to every aspect of your job, from the development of national policies and strategies in foreign relations that will best advance your country's key interests, to negotiating the achievement of those interests through trade and other international agreements, negotiating peaceful solutions to conflict situations, or liaising with external parties on behalf of your respective governments on a range of issues.

5. It is not easy being a diplomat in a globalised world, even less so for Pacific Island diplomats. International agreements, mechanisms and organisations are having increasing impact on national policies. Small countries often have limited resources to work with and infrequent opportunities for influence in the international arena. It is essential that country delegates and representatives have the ability to effectively advance their national objectives in international fora. You need to be as skilled and as strategic as you can be, as those with whom you will be working and competing, making the most of all resources available and every opportunity to promote and protect your national interests.

6. Of course there are many areas in which Pacific Island States share common interests, and working together is an effective way to promote shared goals. The 2004 Eminent Persons Group review of the Forum recommended that stronger and deeper links be created between the countries of the region. A regional representation of common interests will give us a stronger and if necessary, a louder voice in international fora, as well as enhance our changes of success. Examples of where this has worked well include the PIF group of Ambassadors at the UN in New York and the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations with the European Union, and the role played in that by the group of Ambassadors in Brussels.

7. The Pacific Plan itself provides a framework for considering your countries' and our region's engagement with the wider world. The Plan embodies the Leaders' Vision that among other things, calls for increased partnership within the region and beyond so as to develop regional knowledge, improve communications and ensure a sustainable existence for all. The Plan contains initiatives for deeper regional cooperation in the key areas of economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security, and it has been broadly accepted by our partners as a regional script, a statement of the priorities we wish to pursue together.

8. The content of this diplomacy training programme has been developed by USP in consultation with the Forum Secretariat. In designing it we had a common objective of providing a quality programme that is specifically tailored to the Pacific context, and which will enable you to develop and enhance your negotiating and diplomacy skills.

9. The course is structured to build on your ability to engage in constructive dialogue and open, respectful discussion , values the Forum believes to be central to achieving and maintaining harmonious relations within the region as well as within individual countries, and which are reflective of the Pacific Way at its best.
10. On that note, let me take this opportunity to thank the course administrators and facilitators for a job well done in getting the Programme off the ground. I have no doubt that they will be receptive to your questions and queries over the next five weeks, at the end of which both the Forum Secretariat and the University of the South Pacific will welcome your comments on the usefulness of this course to you.

11. As you move through the programme, we would also welcome your ideas as the inaugural participants on how we can improve on the course content. It is our hope that today's launch will lead to the establishment of a permanent diplomacy training programme for Pacific Islanders here at USP.

12. In keeping with the objectives of the Pacific Plan the Forum Secretariat, in cooperation with our partners, remains committed to building the capacity of Pacific Islanders in all aspects of national and regional development. And as you all no doubt already known as indicated by your presence here, a diplomacy training programme has broad significance and relevance to national development.

13. I would urge you all to make the most of this opportunity to build on your existing knowledge and skills, to enjoy the course and to take the fruits of the programme back with you to your respective countries and jobs. In this way you will be an important agent in that process of building stronger nations who form part of a dynamic region pursuing peace, harmony, security and prosperity within the global community.

14. It gives me great pleasure, then, to launch this very significant regional activity and to wish you a productive and enjoyable time here.

Thank you.