Pacific Islands Forum Leaders today launched a new era for Pacific partnership by adopting a Pacific Plan to strengthen and deepen regional cooperation and integration. The Plan is a living document which, step by step, aims to give practical effect to the Leaders’ vision of a region that is “respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values, and for its defence and promotion of human rights”.
The “Kalibobo Roadmap” reinforces the objectives of the Plan and is intended to guide the PIF member countries during the implementation phase in the first three (3) years. In this regard, the Leaders will be looking to the Plan to help achieve major outcomes for the people of the region.
The Pacific Plan is built on four pillars that are geared towards enhancing:
Economic Growth: The key objective is improved income earnings and livelihoods through better access to goods, services, employment and other development opportunities. The Plan includes initiatives for better access to markets and goods, trade in services including labour, trade facilitation, enhanced transportation and communication, private sector development and in the key resource sectors of fisheries and tourism.
Sustainable Development: The key objective is enhanced capacity and resilience of Pacific people and societies. The Plan includes initiatives for improving not only educational standards but also practical (technical and vocational) skills that are relevant to job markets, in areas such as seafaring, hospitality/training, health care, and peacekeeping and policing. There are also initiatives to enhance the health of Pacific people, and support the fight against HIV/AIDS and STI, non-communicable diseases and other health threats.
Good Governance: The key objective is to support a safe, enabling, inclusive and sustainable environment for economic growth and personal development and human rights. It is for this reason that the Plan promotes the development and implementation of national sustainable development strategies; regional support for good governance, particularly in areas such as leadership, human rights, ombudsman functions, audit, transparent administration systems, and participatory decision-making mechanisms that includes the non-government groups, women and youth. The Plan will also support the maintenance of strong Pacific cultural identities and the protection of traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights.
Security: The key objective is to ensure safety and security of maritime and aviation and borders. The Plan will promote technical cooperation, regional police training, and other measures relating to drug and weapons control, quarantine, bio-security and safety. Another important dimension of the security and sustainable development environment relates to prevention, mitigation and adaptation with regard to natural disasters, pollution (through waste management) and climate variability and change and sea level rise.
Twenty-four (24) initiatives have been identified for immediate implementation over the next three years:
There are also a range of other initiatives under the Pacific Plan which have been agreed to in principle or have been listed for future analysis before they are implemented.
Future Outlook and Implementation
The Forum is expected to move progressively towards a comprehensive framework agreement amongst all the Forum members that includes trade (and services) and economic cooperation. Leaders are particularly pleased that the Forum’s Economic and Trade Ministers have taken the initiative to progress work on this goal of theirs.
The successful implementation of the Pacific Plan is dependent on the support and commitment of member countries, regional organisations, development partners and a range of stakeholders. As stronger regional cooperation and integration is a means to support national development objectives, the development and implementation of national policies and strategies on regionalism are an important Strategic Objective of the Pacific Plan. These strategies will need to include clear statements of national interests as they relate to regionalism and the establishment of appropriate mechanisms and processes for the use of regional approaches at the country level.
At the regional level, implementation of the Plan in the first instance will be the responsibility of the PIF Secretariat. This is consistent with the 2004 decision by Leaders that the primary functions of the Secretariat are to provide policy advice, coordination and assistance in implementing their decisions.
Political oversight and guidance to the Secretariat will be provided, during the year by a Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC), chaired by the Forum Chair and comprising representatives of all PIF Countries. The Forum Chair (as chair of the PPAC) will report to Leaders on the implementation of the Plan on a quarterly basis.
The Secretariat will provide written quarterly reports to the Chair for consideration and dissemination to PIF member countries.
A small implementation unit, reporting directly to the Deputy Secretary General, will be maintained in the Secretariat to support the PPAC and progress the plan. A similar unit will be established to ensure that the Smaller Island States derive the fullest possible benefit from the Plan.
Overall implementation of Pacific Plan initiatives will be reviewed annually by Leaders who will receive a report, prepared in consultation with members of the PPAC, from the Chair and Secretary General prior to the Leaders’ meeting. These reports will include recommendations on future directions for the Plan.
Given the central role of regional organisations, a regional institutional framework that is appropriate to the development of the Pacific Plan will be established. A progress report on this will be provided to the 2006 Forum. Relationships with Pacific territories, NSAs, civil society and development partners will be strengthened, and an annual outcomes-oriented process with non-state-representatives from the business sector, academia, media and civil society organisations will be established, to provide a platform for wider debate and feedback to the Leaders through the Secretary General.
It is proposed that a Pacific Fund be established to manage the Pacific Plan implementation through the PPAC. Leaders acknowledge with appreciation the assistance or contributions of development partners and international bodies towards the development and initial implementation of the Plan and urge other development partners to also contribute to the Pacific Fund and the implementation of the Plan. The Fund would be utilised in the areas of capacity building in workshops, symposiums and seminars and for Forum Secretariat Officials to make in country assessments of progress on implementation and advise countries on the appropriate course of action when implementing the Plan.
While the Pacific Plan has a general timeframe of ten years, it provides a mechanism for discussing and shaping the region’s longer-term future. It is a living document that will continue to draw inspiration from Leaders and from the people they serve, now and in the years to come.
Kalibobo Village, Madang
Papua New Guinea
26 October 2005