24 Oct 2006

Pacific countries at Forum asked to commit to implementing Pacific plan

9:19 am on 24 October 2006

Pacific Island countries are being asked to make a commitment at the Forum summit to implementing the Pacific Plan.

The dispute between Solomon Islands and Australia has dominated discussions so far at the Forum, but the need for greater support of the plan, which is a series of initiatives to achieve closer regional integration, is also an

issue.

It's one of the recommendations highlighted in the plan's first progress report which leaders of the 16 Forum Island countries will be discussing.

The secretary general of the Forum, Greg Urwin, says there has been progress in a number of areas but more work is required to maintain the momentum.

"It is the ongoing challenge for us. Some of the countries have taken it up and started to inject it into their planning and sustainable development but capacity issues are involved in this so we've started to take the step of posting Forum representatives and offices in a number of the countries."

Mr Urwin says he believes there is support for greater regional integration which won't be derailed by the current tense relations between Solomon Islands and Australia.