PIDF aims to fill gap in Pacific infrastructure
Fiji's Pacific Islands Development Forum to fill a role not covered by existing agencies.
The acting secretary general of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, Feleti Te'o, says the agency will fill a void among regional agencies.
The Fiji regime leader inaugurated the secretariat of the PIDF, which he wants to be seen as the region's pre-eminent grouping, at a ceremony last weekend in Suva.
He says ordinary Pacific Islanders are no longer served adequately by the Pacific Islands Forum, which is also based in Suva.
But Mr Te'o, who until recently was one of two deputy secretary generals at the Forum, says the new agency will not be in competition with his old colleagues.
Don Wiseman asked him how he came to take on the role.
FELETI TE'O: It took me a while to agree to take on this short-term assignment and the clear instruction and brief that I was provided is that this organisation would not in any way compete, or seek, to take over or to compete with any other regional organisations including the Pacific Islands Forum.
DON WISEMAN: Although it has got to come down to one or the other doesn't it?
FT: Well I think that the Development Forum provides for what is not available at the moment in the current regional architecture. And that is the space for genuine discussions among all the stake holders within the small island developing countries on what inclusive sustainable development means to them. As you might know the membership of the Development Forum is only open to the small island developing countries or territories of the region. It also provides a platform for where, not only government officials come to discuss and decide on the sustainable development agenda for the region but it provides a platform for the multi stake holders engagement, including representatives of the private sector and civil society.
DW: In terms of immediate goals what is the organisation looking at?
FT: It has been agreed by the senior officials committee that enabling green growth in the Pacific will have to be the underpinning of this Development Forum.
DW: But can you give me some specifics of how the PIDF might go about that?
FT: There are tools that are being considered at the moment. In terms of the climate change debate I think the development forum will provide a space where representative stakeholders from Small Island Developing countries will have the opportunity to discuss their actual need without the presence of development partners present in their conversations.
DW: How do you think you will get on for money? I know the Pacific Islands Forum gets substantial amounts of money from Australia and NZ and other members but is there going to be substantial money available. Do you need a lot of money? what will you do?
FT: Well I mean that will obviously be a challenge and I think it will be imperative on the development forum to demonstrate its usefulness and utility quite early on because as you might know at the moment the funding has been provided principally by the Fiji Government. We are in the process of finalising our work programme which will hopefully demonstrate to other potential partners what the organisation will bring and hopefully there will be interest generated through that.
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