11:30am (Fiji Standard Time), Wednesday
04 September 2019
Suva, Fiji – The outcomes of two important meetings held at the recent 50th Pacific Islands Forum in Tuvalu have been released today by the Forum Secretariat.
The 2019 Civil Society Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders was held in Funafuti on 14 August 2019 where representatives of 10 civil society groups from across the Pacific met with Leaders from all 18 Forum Member countries.
In his opening statement, Forum Chair, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon Enele Sopoaga said the dialogue served to demonstrate the genuine commitment by Pacific Leaders to inclusivity, and the desire to ensure that the benefits of regionalism accrue to all Pacific people and communities.
“I firmly belive that more can be acheived together, and that increased engagement with civil society puts Leaders on the right trajectory towards addressing the key challenges faced in the region. Climate change is an important example of this, with many of our communities now on the frontline of dealing with its dire effects and impacts,” said Prime Minister Sopoaga.
CSO representatives raised issues of regional secuirty, climate change, ocean health, governance and West Papua. Specific calls for action to Leaders included:
Reflecting on the 2019 dialogue, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor said she was impressed by the robust and frank nature of the exchange, as well as the compassion, and commitment to Pacific peoples that the region’s CSOs and Leaders share.
“It was a powerful and moving discussion and I think we see the level of trust and openness growing year on year. The principle of inclusivity, and the notion that no one in our Blue Pacific family is left behind are central to the work of the Forum, and this dialogue plays a key role in holding leaders and governments to account,” said Dame Meg Taylor.
Many of the issues raised in the CSO dialogue with Forum Leaders went on to be discussed at the Leaders Retreat held the following day, and were reflected in the final communique.
A Private Sector Dialogue was also held in Funafuti on 14 August, with Private Sector representatives meeting with Forum Leaders to discuss a range of issues focused on supporting and empowering business and entrepreneurship in the Pacific; Public Private Partnerships on Resilient Infrastructure for Climate Change the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises and Labour Mobility. Specific calls for action to Leaders included:
“The number of issues discussed, and the range of solutions and ideas exchanged at the dialogue between the Private Sector and Forum Leaders demonstrates the importance of the private sector to advancing the Forum’s overall theme of ‘securing the future in the Pacific’.
“Innovation, entrepreneurship and utilisation of the Pacific’s own skills and talent base is key as we build more resilient, climate and risk proof economies nationally, and regionally. There is a genuine commitment by leaders to work collaboratively with the private sector on these issues and I look forward to continued engagement with business leaders around the Blue Pacific,” said Dame Meg Taylor.
It was agreed that key initiatives, would be further investigated ahead of the 2020 Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Vanuatu.
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