Implementing a new strategy designed to ensure greater influence on the regional agenda for the Smaller Islands States of the Pacific Islands Forum was the focus of discussions at the SIS Officials meeting at the Forum Secretariat yesterday.
The SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020 focuses attention on five priority areas that can provide mutual benefit when approached through collective effort – Climate Change, Labour, Health, Transport, and Marine.
Addressing the meeting, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, said “The SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020 is a momentous step, and one that gives practical meaning to deepening regionalism and shaping a more focused agenda for SIS Leaders into the future.”
“As we begin implementing this strategy we must keep in mind its intent is to ensure greater influence on the regional agenda by being more strategic in our endeavour. We need to focus on key actions where there is a readiness to implement; and secondly by exercising greater influence we wish to see greater political attention and higher level political action.”
Cook Islands’ senior official and Chair of the meeting, Jim Armistead added, “The SIS Strategy now becomes the cornerstone of our work as a collective and in support of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.”
Talks focussed on two of the key areas – climate change and transport. Following the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Regional Meeting last week at the Forum Secretariat, there was substantial discussion around the SIS’s ambition to develop a joint proposal for climate financing through the GCF. Regarding transport, the emphasis was on securing fair and equitable air service agreements for the SIS, and greater control and management of their upper airspace.
Regional organisations and development partners from across the Pacific joined the meeting to explore ways in which they can best work together to support the Strategy’s objectives.
The Smaller Island States of the Forum comprise Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu.
The Forum Officials Committee Meeting, comprising representatives from all Pacific Islands Forum countries and Associate Members, begins in Suva today.
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