23 Jul 2008

Pacific NGOs angry at exclusion from Forum meeting

4:39 pm on 23 July 2008

Regional non-governmental organisations say they were shut out of today's Forum Officials Committee meeting at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva.

The FOC is the governing body of the Forum Secretariat and endorses its work programme and budget and prepares the agenda for the annual summit of Pacific leaders.

The Pacnews agency reports the NGOs, who are members of the Pacific Islands Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations, or PIANGO, expressed their disappointment at not being granted access to the meeting.

PIANGO's head, Tupou Vere, of the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre, says this is the second time that PIANGO's application been declined.

PIANGO has formal consultative status with the Forum.

Ms Vere says the application for accreditation was declined at the eleventh hour.

The Executive Director of the Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International, Rex Horoi, says with NGOs shut out it means governments are making decisions without community input.

Susana Tuisawau, of the Pacific Foundation for the Advancement of Women, says governments need to ensure they draw on wider views and experience when discussing the Pacific Plan, which is supposed to benefit the citizens of the region.