13 Oct 2009

Strong backing for continued growth of SPC

8:11 pm on 13 October 2009

All 22 Pacific Island member countries and territories of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community have voiced strong support for the organisation at its governing body meets in Tonga.

They have approved plans for changes that will add significantly to the SPC's size and scope.

Representatives of Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States have assured their continued backing for SPC, which over the past four years has developed a growing network of regional and country offices.

Under a reform process for regional institutions directed by Pacific Forum Leaders, the organisation's staff numbers will grow from 390 to 540 by January next year when it absorbs most of the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission and all of the South Pacific Board of Educational Assessment.

The SPC has a large number of separately funded programmes and projects in areas such as agricultural research, tuna stock assessments, public health, human rights, gender and youth issues, culture, statistics, economic development, shipping and communication technology.