21 Jul 2006

RAMSI says it is striving to involve more Pacific Islands' advisors in its operation

5:56 pm on 21 July 2006

The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, RAMSI, says it is working hard to increase the numbers of Pacific Islanders involved.

While the island countries provide significant numbers of police and soldiers to RAMSI, only four of the about 170 civilian officials have been drawn from outside Australia or New Zealand.

This is one of the concerns raised in an OXFAM report out this week which said RAMSI needed to change its approach to ensure that the rebuilding process worked.

The deputy special co-ordinator with RAMSI, Paul Ash, says they have put a lot of effort into trying to increase the number of Pacific Islands advisors but he says they face a number of challenges.

"Many of their own public sectors are under resourced, and there are structural constraints. Many people don't want to resign their job, which in some cases they have to do, in order to come and work here. Now we are continuing to work on ways to address that and one of the ways we have done that is bringing in short term missions from other parts of the Pacific - the chief of the public sector in Samoa was here recently, for example, and that proved a very very useful exchange of ideas."