The ownership of the regional development agenda and ensuring inclusive mechanisms in the implementation of the Smaller Island States Strategy 2016 – 2020 underpinned the Smaller Island States Officials (SISO) Meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on Monday, 7 August.
In preparation for the Smaller Island States Leaders Meeting in Samoa on 5 September, the SISO Meeting considered the first annual progress report on the five priority areas identified in the SIS Regional Strategy 2016-2020; the Strategy was endorsed by SIS Leaders in Koror, Palau in 2016.
The Smaller Island States officials discussed issues around fair and equitable air services agreements and upper airspace management, labour mobility, collective approaches to effectively accessing climate change-related funding opportunities, and the importance of ensuring a “whole of government” approach in progressing the SIS Strategy
Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said: “The Strategy offers SIS members key opportunities, including strengthened strategic focus on implementation, with particular regard to the key actions where there is a readiness to implement, and to exercise greater influence through garnering collective political attention and higher level political action.”
The Strategy underlines strengthened links with the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, through one of its pillars: the Regional Public Consultation Process. The meeting discussed more effective modalities to increase the engagement of SIS with the Secretariat in this process.
The eight (8) members of the Smaller Island States group are Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
A series of preparatory meetings are being held at the Forum Secretariat this week in preparation for the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Samoa next month reach its final stages.
Also meeting are Pacific ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific; August 7) officials meeting, the Forum Officials Meeting (August 8-9) and the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting (FFMM) which will discuss current geopolitical trends and what they mean for the Pacific region, on Friday, August 11.
Foreign Ministers will also discuss how they can work together to advance the Forum’s foreign policy priorities, and to strengthen the voice of the Pacific in international affairs.
The FFMM will be chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, the Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.