Remarks delivered by the Pacific Islands Forum Deputy Secretary General, Esala Nayasi
at the Workshop on Effective Legal Frameworks for building the Digital Economy
18 October 2023, Suva. Fiji.
Bula vinaka to you all and welcome to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Just two weeks ago, our Trade Officials and Ministers gathered in this very room to deliberate on critical trade matters, including Electronic Commerce (E-commerce) and the important role that technology and connectivity can play in enhancing lives through E-commerce development.
E-commerce introduces a powerful dynamic to global trade and mroeso, trade in a region as the Pacific, which is characterised by dispersed islands across large geographics spaces.
It presents the potential to empower businesses in the digital era, facilitate trade, and connect our islands. However, doing so correctly is essential.
To support Members in building capacity in this area, we have the Regional E-Commerce Strategy whose implementation is coordinated through the Pacific E-Commerce Committee.
I am very pleased to report that at the end of 2022, 43% of the 54 measures recommended in the Strategy were under active implementation – no mean fete for a strategy that was just 13 months old at that time.
Indeed, your gathering today and over the next few days presents the opportunity to progress discussion on a critical priority area under the Regional E-Commerce Strategy – advancing the legal and regulatory frameworks at the national level.
I am hopeful that you will use the time here to equip yourselves with the knowledge and skills to craft legislation that fosters innovation, protects consumers and the private sector, and builds trust in online marketplaces and most importantly, begin to build your own network amongst your own peers in this field from across the region.
In many ways, our progress on regional E-Commerce priorities is testament to the importance of partnerships in realising our development aspirations and priorities.
Through the Pacific E-Commerce Committee, we established the Pacific Regional E-commerce Alliance, which brings together implementing agencies in this field and aims to enhance coordination, awareness, promotion of E-commerce activities, as well as resource mobilisation and I am very pleased to announce that the Commonwealth Secretariat will be the first partner to formally sign on to the Alliance, later today.
I encourage all partners in this field to also consider doing so.
That said, ladies and gentlemen and before I close, allow me to recognise and acknowledge all those who have helped bring this event together, specifically, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Asian Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).
I look forward to your ongoing support and collaboration moving forward, as we work to deliver for our Pacific people.
Vinaka vakalevu to each of you and I wish you all a productive and enriching experience during the workshop and throughout your stay in Fiji.