4 Oct 2007

NGO call for better links with governments ahead of Fourm Pacific Plan discussions

5:07 pm on 4 October 2007

Pacific non-government organisations say there is a need for a greater level of engagement between civil society and governments.

About a hundred delegates of Pacific NGOs will meet next week ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum summit in Tonga.

The head of the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs, Cema Bolabola, says they want to make the point that the Forum's Pacific Plan for regional integration remains too government or institution driven, rather than coming from the people.

She says NGOs could help overcome this, but governments need to engage more with them.

"PIANGO has found that the stronger the civil society at the national level, the umbrella NGOs, the higher the level of engagement or the civil society engagement with government. You know when civil society is not strong, there is no engagement with government. When it is strong it is engaging with government - that is the thing we really need to do. We need to strengthen civil society to engage continuously with their governments."

Cema Bolabola