Pacific Peoples Agenda

by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The 46th Pacific Islands Leaders meeting is expected to be different from previous meetings.

Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, said critical issues that will be discussed are people driven.

“These issues are not driven by officials, these issues came from people,” the Secretary General said during a sit down with EMTV News.

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat collected 68 submissions that they ran through a series of tests around, regionalism, sovereignty, market test, inclusivity and duplication.

At the end of this process, these 5 main issues:

1.            Climate issues,

2.            ICT,

3.            Cervical Cancer

4.            West Papua and

5.            Fisheries

have now been put forward for the leaders to discuss.

Some of these issues have huge economic and political implications that Dame Meg says needs to be discussed with a strong focus of the common good for the Pacific as a region.

“Two aspects, ones about a deeper regionalism, about having real discussions around issues that affect us. Secondly it’s about owning the politics of the region. Taking decisions about issues and owning it, and finally I’d say in doing that we change the development paradigm…our leaders set the agenda for what is important for our region and discuss it with partners and donors.”

This process of inclusivity comes under the Pacific development guide, Framework for Pacific Regionalism, which the Pacific island Forum Secretariat was given the mandate to implement.

Dame Meg said the challenge now is to make it work.

In terms of thinking of the common good versus the sovereignty and self-interest of individual island states, Dame Meg says it will require strong leadership.

“Regionalism requires all of us to give away a little that requires foresight, it requires foresight, it requires leadership and it requires I think a deep understanding of the common good and what it means for the Pacific.”

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