22 Oct 2010

Pacific think tank says Pacific Islands Forum needs to re-invigorate itself

7:25 pm on 22 October 2010

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy says there's a lack of leadership in the region and the Pacific Islands Forum, as the peak body, needs to redefine itself.

The Institute has put out a discussion document, called Island Dreaming, outlining a need for a fresh look at regionalism.

It says there's no common understanding of what regionalism means for the Pacific and a lack of debate and clarity has created confusion and bewilderment.

The Institute sees the Forum secretariat as a key body in overcoming this, but its communications director, Ben Bohane, says the agency for some years has been drifting, with some overlap in services with other bodies, when it could be leading the region on issues like climate change and trade.

"And some of this as I say is just an historical aspect of the fact that we are seeing the rise of Asian powers and their influence in the region, the rise of sub regionals, and it's just giving an added impetus for the Forum Sec [Secretariat] to re-invigorate itself."