SIS Leaders convene their 21st meeting

Rarotonga, Cook Islands- A more strategic positioning of the interests of the Smaller Island States (SIS) within the framework of the Pacific Plan was high among the agenda of the 21st meeting of the SIS Leaders held in the Cook Islands capital Rarotonga, today.
Also high on the agenda was the proposal to develop a programme based approach as the basis to seek additional funding for the SIS Development Fund.

The SIS Leaders’ Meeting is the first in the series of meetings leading up to the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum which will officially open in Rarotonga on 28 August. Membership of the Pacific Islands SIS includes the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu.

In his opening remarks at the meeting today, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade reaffirmed that the Pacific Plan remains the master strategy for regional cooperation and integration.

“The modalities for the review of the Pacific Plan to commence next year will be determined by all Forum Leaders later this week. For your agenda today, you are being asked to consider how the review of the Pacific Plan might provide ways to better address the specific needs of the SIS,” said Mr Slade.

The programme based approach around the SIS Development Fund would ensure the predictability of resources through multi-year funding arrangements to be channeled through the Fund, it would outline very specific objectives and intended results to be supported by the Fund, as a clear guide for where development partner resources would be best used and where it is most needed.

Other issues for SIS Leaders’ consideration include:
• SIS special requirements in climate change financing;
• Sub regional transport services, including shipping and air services;
• Importance of trade policy frameworks in guiding trade negotiations and agreements;
• Tourism potential in the SIS; and
• The centrality of gender empowerment and equality in the achievement of national and regional outcomes.

“These are issues which must be considered within the broader context of recent global processes on pursuing more integrated sustainable development and effective development cooperation,” said Mr Slade.

The global processes include commitments made in the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation which calls for a more inclusive and transparent global partnership in the delivery, management and monitoring of development efforts.

he other global process is the Rio +20 Conference the outcomes of which bring sustainable development goals once again to the forefront of global attention and calls for a more balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

The one-day SIS Leaders’ meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Hon. Henry Puna.

ENDS

For media enquiries, contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone: 682 70945 or email: johnsonh@forumsec.org.fj