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Pacific Plan Review 2013

 

In 2012, at their annual Forum in Cook Islands, Leaders decided the time was right for a comprehensive review of the Pacific Plan—over the past decade the region had evolved considerably, and a change in the approach to regionalism was needed to respond to these contextual shifts.

Leaders selected an eminent person from the region to lead the Review: the Rt. Hon. Sir Mekere Morauta, a former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea.

Together, Sir Mekere and his Review team of two consultants and two officials (from Samoa and Federated States of Micronesia) conducted consultations in all Forum member and Associate member countries. They met with over 700 people from governments, civil society, the private sector, development partners, universities, and regional agencies across the Pacific. They also called for written submissions, receiving over 70, which were made publicly available.

Sir Mekere presented the key Review findings to Leaders at the 2013 Forum in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands. The final Review report . was then delivered at the end of October 2013, and released to the public in December 2013 after being discussed at the Forum Officials Committee meeting.

In presenting to Leaders, Sir Mekere called for a thorough overhaul of the Plan, stating “we see a region that is at a crossroads and one that needs regionalism more than ever before... [so] our firm conclusion is that the [future] Pacific Plan ... should be seen as a framework for advancing the political principle of regionalism through a robust, inclusive processes of political dialogue, the expression of political values about regionalism and sovereignty, and the decisive implementation of key, game-changing, drivers of regional integration.”

The final Review report provides more details of the changes that the Review team concluded were necessary for supporting deeper regionalism and better regional-level outcomes, captured in 36 recommendations to Leaders.

Following Leaders’ directions, the final Review report was submitted in October 2013, and Forum officials came together to consider it in December. They voiced overall support for the recommendations, but also identified that the Forum Secretariat needed to undertake further analytical work to determine how the ideas in the Review report might work in practice. That initial work was completed in the lead up to a special Leaders’ retreat held in the Cook Islands on May 5th, 2014.

At their retreat, Leaders endorsed the re-casting of the Plan as the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, agreed that the Forum Secretariat use the initial draft Framework (prepared for Leaders’ review) as the basis for further consultation with regional stakeholders, and tasked the Forum Secretariat to present a final draft of the Framework for Leaders’ further consideration and final approval at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum held in Palau from 29 July to 1 August 2014. 

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