15 Aug 2008

Civil Society groups eye new Forum contacts

5:33 pm on 15 August 2008

The head of the Foundation of the South Pacific, Rex Horoi, says civil society organisations haven't given up hope on getting to meet alongside Forum Leaders at their annual meeting in Niue next week.

NGOs in the region had raised concerns after a number of their statements at Forum leaders' meetings were largely ignored.

Civil society organisations are now changing their strategy to target earlier forum committee meetings, and engaging with leaders directly one on one.

Mr Horoi says they could do so much more with supportive governments, together with the private sector and development partners.

"All civil society organisations in the Pacific are waiting for the moment when leaders will say to us sit next to us at the same table at the forum leaders meeting, so we can discuss the issues that face the Pacific together. And only then can they have complete trust on a way forward that their needs will be addressed."

Rex Horoi, Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific's executive director.