Forum re-affirms commitment to civil society support and engagement

22nd February 2013 The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat remains committed to engaging and supporting Pacific civil society.

This was the commitment made by the Forum’s Acting Secretary General, Mr Feleti Teo, at the launch of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) 2013-2015 Strategic Plan in Suva yesterday.

Mr Teo further welcomed the Strategic Plan’s overarching theme of “Rethinking Development”.

“We acknowledge the need for Pacific solutions from Pacific experts that clearly reflect the Pacific we want,” said Mr Teo.

“Civil society organisations and the body of knowledge they represent are certainly well placed to give us that perspective and insight.”

Mr Teo added that strong partnerships with civil society are key to ensuring that the journey to strengthening regional cooperation and integration is inclusive and participatory.

“We are confident that there will be room for increased civil society engagements with regional processes, partnerships and mechanisms.”

Mr Teo highlighted the Pacific Plan Review currently underway, which included civil society input in its national consultations.

“The perspectives from civil society are important in this process to ensure that the review is transparent and participatory, and for the Pacific Plan to be truly reflective of the needs and aspirations of Pacific communities whom many civil society organisations represent.”

Mr Teo reminded guests at the launch that while the development of plans are always an exciting feat, civil society leaders need to encourage full involvement, effort, commitment and steadfast leadership for effective implementation.

He further applauded the efforts of PIANGO, its board and staff and commended their confidence in the goals and objectives of their Strategic Plan.

(Ends)

For further information please contact Mue Bentley Fisher at the Forum Secretariat via mueb@forumsec.org.fj.