How can the Pacific Islands benefit from the Asian Century? The Pacific Islands Forum has begun a regional consultation with stakeholders on a new framework for sustainable economic interaction with the major and emerging economies of Asia.
The need for such a framework was identified at the Forum Economic Ministers’ Meeting (FEMM) in Suva on April 6. The FEMM asked the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to begin development of a sustainable development framework for interaction with Asian economies and to consult widely with governments, business and civil society.
“An ideal approach would be to develop a regional framework that identifies the Pacific Islands’ regional priorities for sustainable industry development projects”, said Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, David Morris.
“Such a framework could provide guidance to Asian financial institutions, governments and the international private sector on appropriate environmental, cultural, best practice business and other principles to be applied in developing regional projects”, he said.
In the first decades of the 21st Century, dubbed by some the “Asian Century”, major and emerging Asian economies have become the growth engine of the world economy. Asian financial institutions, governments and private sector have capacity to fund and invest in regional infrastructure and connectivity to reduce the traditional barrier faced by Pacific Islands of distance to major markets, potentially generating new industry development, jobs and opportunities.
A steering committee for the development of the framework has been formed to oversee a regional consultation process, chaired by Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, David Morris, and including heads of key regional organisations including the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation, Pacific Islands Association of Non Government Organisations, South Pacific Tourism Organisation, Forum Fisheries Agency, University of the South Pacific and the Asian Development Bank. The steering committee held its first meeting on July 6 and determined to begin consultations, including with national teams in each Forum Island Country.
Stakeholders wishing to contribute to the development of the framework are invited to contact the Trade and Investment Commissioner, David Morris: