August 21, 2008

Fiji Moans About Pacific Regional Entities

Pacific Plan questioned by state - 8/20/2008

The interim government has questioned the decision of the Pacific Forum island leaders to merge some of the functions of 10 regional organisations in the Pacific.
A paper obtained by Pacnews said Fiji wanted to revisit the decision to rationalise some of the functions of the Suva-based Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission with the work programmes of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
It also questioned the rationale behind merging another Suva based regional organisation, the South Pacific Bureau for Education Assessment into the SPC.
“Fiji is very concerned about the process through which recommendations from senior officials about the preferred regional institutional framework particularly the interpretation thereof, may have been put to leaders for a decision,” the paper stated.
“Furthermore, Fiji believes that the format of the retreat further isolated leaders from senior government officials who would otherwise have provided advice that was more effective leading up to the leaders meeting.”
Fiji said the decision on SOPAC and SPBEA was unfortunate.
“This exercise takes the developing Pacific Island States back towards the days when there was just one regional organisation, the former South Pacific Commission. It was an arrangement that was rejected by the Pacific Island Leaders then because their voices were drowned out by the metropolitan members of the organisation.”
Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Feleti Teo told journalists there were only two country initiative papers prepared by Samoa and Vanuatu are on the agenda of the Leaders Meeting.

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