Meet the Tuvalu SIS (Smaller Island States) Officer – Pugameau Taufilo

Pugameau Taufilo, better known as “Puga” recently joined the Forum Secretariat’s team of Smaller Island States Officers (SISOs) as the new SISO for Tuvalu.

Puga was previously employed as a Fisheries Economist with the Tuvalu Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy and International Affairs from the University of the South Pacific.  An avid follower of sport, Puga also enjoys watching movies and “cannot live without television”.

As the new SISO for Tuvalu, he becomes part of a team across the Forum Smaller Island States (SIS) membership who are at the front-line of advocating and progressing the regional agenda in-country, in partnership with government ministries, civil society and the private sector. He will be using the Smaller Island States Regional Strategy 2016-2020 to guide his work over the next three years, addressing key issues under the five priority areas of Climate Change, Labour Mobility, Health, Marine, and Air and Sea Transportation.

There are eight SIS members: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.

In 2006, the Smaller Island States Unit was formally established at the Secretariat following Leaders’ decisions to “develop new initiatives and advocate for the needs of Smaller Island States, particularly given their limited capacity and fragile and vulnerable environment, including to climate change.”

The SIS Officers (SISOs) were then established within governments to maintain close collaboration and links to SIS in order to effectively facilitate and implement the SIS work programme.  As such, a key function of the SISOs is to provide an essential link between the SIS and the Secretariat to facilitate and coordinate the effective implementation and progress of decisions of SIS and Forum Leaders. To date, all SIS except Niue have active SISOs engaged in-country.

Going from fisheries to the front-line is no easy feat but a challenge we know Puga has gladly accepted and will be successful in fulfilling!