NSAs and regional governments find common ground

[Brisbane, AUSTRALIA] Augmenting consultation between Non-State Actors (NSAs) and governments at the national level to influence regional initiatives will be vital for effectively moving forward.

This was a resonating message at the Second NSA Dialogue on PACER Plus currently underway in Brisbane, Australia.

“I believe we all have the same goal – governments and NSAs alike – and that is to improve the lives of Pacific peoples,” said the Chair of the NSA Dialogue and Executive Member of the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations (SUNGO), Mr Raymond Voigt.

“This is the opportunity for us to dialogue and voice our stakeholders’ views, and indeed our Pacific peoples’ aspirations for PACER Plus.”

Non-State Actors include representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the private sector and media.

PACER Plus arrangements aim to provide a comprehensive framework for trade and economic cooperation between Australia, New Zealand and the Forum Island Countries (FICs) to foster improved economic growth, investment and employment in the Pacific region.

“This meeting follows on from the first NSA Dialogue held on 18 October 2010, in Honiara, Solomon Islands,” explained Mr Voigt. “The consultations with the Non-State Actors has been recognised by Pacific Islands Forum Members as a crucial part of the PACER Plus negotiations, and I am glad that today we will have the opportunity to discuss how to improve the consultations.”

Participants at the NSA Dialogue will hear today from the Forum Members on the work that is being undertaken to progress the PACER Plus negotiations, and in particular regarding consultations with Non-State Actors.

The NSA Dialogue is an initiative of Forum Trade Ministers, and takes place in the margins of a PACER Plus Officials meeting. The Fourth Meeting of PACER Plus Officials is scheduled for 27-29 March 2012 in Brisbane, Australia.

The Dialogue is a collaborative effort of Pacific Islands Forum Members, the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) and the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO).

(Ends)

For media enquiries contact Ms Mue Bentley Fisher, the Forum Secretariat’s Communications Officer on (679) 9998677 or email: mueb@forumsec.org.fj

Photo captions:

1. Participants at the NSA Dialogue (l-r) Mr Sebastian Ilala of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Ms Mereia Volavola, CEO of PIPSO, Ms Emele Duiduituraga, CEO of PIANGO, Mr David Hesaie, NSA Liaison at the Forum Secretariat, and Mr Vikash Singh of British American Tabacco – Australasia.

2. Chair of the NSA Dialogue, Mr Raymond Voigt, Executive Member of the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations (SUNGO).

3. Room shot – NSA Dialogue on PACER Plus.

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