14 Dec 2005

Pacific Forum thinking of stationing staff in small island states

4:15 pm on 14 December 2005

The Pacific Islands Forum is considering stationing staff in each of the six small island states in the region.

Nauru, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Tuvalu and Marshall Islands are seen as increasingly vulnerable and an aim of the Pacific Plan on greater regional cooperation is to improve their ability to cope with these pressures.

The Forum's Secretary General Greg Urwin says they want to make the services available through the Forum more accessible and usable by the smaller nations.

He says this may involve the appointment of a Forum representative to each of those countries on a long term basis.

"Along the lines that we have already done and been operating within Nauru for the past 18 months. We would see those representatives serving a number of purposes which, as I say, would make the kinds of things that are on offer more available to the states concerned."

Greg Urwin says the Forum is discussing funding of this staff deployment with the New Zealand Government.