11 Feb 2010

Call for more Pacific co-operation at crisis conference

4:56 pm on 11 February 2010

Government ministers attending a United Nations conference in Vanuatu this week have been urged to co-operate more fully with each other if they're to ride out the world's financial recession.

More than 200 delegates are in the capital, Port Vila, for the Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis, which aims to come up with measures to protect the region's most vulnerable groups from the worst effects of the recession.

Fiji's Permanent Secretary for National Planning used his presentation this morning to call for more regional and sub-regional co-operation.

In line with this, Pita Wise says it's critical that Fiji open up new markets with the likes of India and China, in what's known as south-to-south co-operation, as dependence on traditional partners such as Australia and New Zealand is no longer possible.

But he says new regional trade partnerships are also important.

"We in Fiji are trying to foster the Melanesian Group to trade with each other in terms of what goods are available and set up a financial institution that will support that. i thinnk that is clearly articulated by the under-secretary of UNESCAP, that's very critical. If the Pacific is part of the Asian region, so we have to create that close co-operation because we don't work in isolation."

Pita Wise, Fiji's Permanent Secretary for National Planning.