Remarks by Dame Meg Taylor on Fostering Enabling Environments for Stakeholder Participation and Partnerships

Dame Meg Taylor speaking at SAMOA Pathway meeting

Dame Meg Taylor speaking at SAMOA Pathway meeting

Fostering enabling environments for stakeholder participation and partnerships

Samoa TATTE Convention Center

Apia, Samoa

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

 

  • Your Excellencies,
  • Chair of the Meeting, Ms Peseta Noumea Simi,
  • Madam moderator,
  • Delegates and colleagues,
  • Ladies and gentlemen

 

Our thanks to the Government of Samoa for the warm and generous hospitality as always when we visit.

Thank you for this opportunity to share the Pacific’s regional perspectives on stakeholder participation and partnerships.

In the Pacific, engaging in and making partnerships work at national and regional levels is not a choice, or academic exercise, it is our reality. Partnerships and inclusivity is a key tenet of our Pacific policy making.

For the Pacific, regionalism and regional cooperation is our most enduring regional partnership. The Framework for Pacific Regionalism, endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2014, reaffirms the region’s commitment to the principle of and importance of inclusivity.

At its core, the Framework calls for strengthened ownership by all stakeholders in the Pacific’s development efforts.

How has this translated into practice for our region?

Operationalising the commitments at regional and national levels

The Pacific Islands Forum, which comprises the Leaders of the 18 Forum Member States, holds three dedicated high-level dialogues on the margins of their annual meeting – with the private sector, with our civil society and with our forum dialogue partners.

The Economic Ministers also meet with Private Sectors and CSOs on an annual basis.

In addition, we have institutionalised broader stakeholder participation in crucial regional and national policy development and coordination committees, including the Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism, the Pacific Steering Committee on Sustainable Development, the Pacific Resilience Partnership and the Pacific Ocean Alliance.

These inclusive regional multi-stakeholder mechanisms have borne successful results throughout the region. The First Quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Report is one such result. A first for the world the Pacific region has succeeded in producing a single regional report on multiple global and regional commitments including the 2030 Agenda and SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway. This reduces the reporting burden on our region and member states.

However, political commitment is not sufficient on its own. Such commitments must be operationalised by adequate resourcing, practical actions and strengthening supporting institutions and, capacities.

I highlight a few practical regional and national actions that demonstrate government, CSOs and private sector engagements. For Example:

  • Our Economic Ministers will consider the establishment of a regional public tenders portal to enable our private sector to have access to information on advertisement of all Government tenders across the region;
  • Our private sector and civil society organizations are working with our governments to tackle the big challenge of Non communicable diseases including through sports for development;
  • Our private sectors are working with governments to address high youth unemployment which is twice the global average; and
  • And the PIFS and EU provide grants to private sector and civil society organizations across the Pacific to implement projects and strengthen their capacities including to engage in national and regional policy making.

At the national level, good practices include: a Civil Society Desk in the Department of Planning in Vanuatu, the private sector and civil society funding facilities in Samoa and Papua New Guinea and civil society engagement policies in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

Mutual Accountability for results

Despite good progress, more needs to be done to move from commitment to real and tangible action on-the ground. To ensure effective implementation, accountability frameworks are critical – but tare often the missing ingredients in our partnerships including in the dialogues between Pacific Leaders and the Private Sector and Civil Society.

To address this, the Secretariat, with the support of the European Union, will support the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation mechanism for the decisions taken at the Leaders Dialogues with private sector and civil society.

Accountability of Partnership Commitments at the multilateral level: SAMOA Pathway and UN Oceans

Finally, I would like to highlight accountability for our SIDS partnerships.  We have integrated the monitoring of the 223 SAMOA Pathway and UN Oceans partnerships into our regional monitoring process for sustainable development.  Reporting on the partnerships is part of our first Quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Report.

I note that through regional reporting from our countries, regional and UN agencies in the Pacific, we have increased the level of reporting on our 223 partnerships from 11% in May to 42% reporting or a total of 93 partnerships as of last week.

However. concerns remain on the limited level of awareness and formal accountability for many of the 223 Pacific SIDS partnerships with accountability for these partnerships being tracked, mainly at the global level.  If we are to have genuine and durable partnerships, we need to anchor accountability at national and regional levels to improve ownership.

Conclusion

In closing, I note three key lessons learned from our ‘partnerships’ and stakeholder engagement experience:

  • (One) Stakeholder participation and partnerships require strong political commitment.
  • (Two) Political commitments need to be operationalised through necessary institutions, resources and capacities; and
  • (Three) and most importantly, implementation needs to be supported by mutual accountability based on clear agreed results

 

I thank you.

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