The special interests and development challenges of the Smaller Island States (SIS) of the Forum have always been accorded special treatment by the broader membership of the Forum.
Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Tuiloma Neroni Slade reiterated this when welcoming SIS and Pacific Plan Desk Officers to a four-day planning workshop held at the Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, 7 – 10 February 2012.
SIS and Pacific Plan Desk Officers have been appointed in the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“Maintaining close collaboration and link to the Smaller Island States is critical to the work of the Secretariat, as seen in the establishment of the SIS Programme Unit. Under this Unit the key function of Desk Officers is to provide an essential link between the Smaller Island States and the Secretariat through the SIS Programme Unit,” Mr Slade said.
“The Desk Officers’ role is to support the Secretariat facilitate and coordinate, at the national level, the effective implementation of decisions of SIS and Forum Leaders under the Pacific Plan.”
Commenting on the workshop, SIS Desk Officer in Kiribati David Teaabo said: “The workshop demonstrates the connections of our work in liaising, networking, advocating, communicating and coordinating the Pacific Plan priorities.”
“It (the workshop) gives us an opportunity to learn more about what we can do to assist the Forum Secretariat and our national governments in the implementation of the Pacific Plan at the national level,” Mr Joseph Tirson, SIS Desk Officer in the Republic of Marshall Islands said.
Pacific Plan Desk Officer in Vanuatu, Ms Moana Matariki stated: “I see the workshop as an opportunity to discuss the 2011 Forum Leaders’ Communique and how we as Pacific Plan Desk Officers may be able to assist at the national level, with the implementation of the decisions.”
“The workshop is a time to share best practices and knowledge that will benefit not only our own country but other Smaller Island States as we implement the priorities of the Pacific Plan,” commented Ms Eni Hipa, SIS Desk Officer in Niue.
During the four-day Planning Workshop, the SIS/Pacific Plan Desk Officers were briefed on the activities of the various Programmes at the Forum Secretariat, other CROP agencies and developed individual country work programmes for 2012.
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