22 Jul 2013

Marshalls' Matayoshi new head of Pacific mayors' group

7:04 am on 22 July 2013

A new Pacific regional mayors network has appointed a Marshall Islands mayor to lead the organisation.

The five-term mayor of nuclear test-affected Rongelap, James Matayoshi, has been elected president of the Pacific Island Local Government Associations Network, or PILGAN.

PILGAN has a secretariat in Fiji, which is connected to the Commonwealth Local Forum.

James Matayoshi says the network will be able to present a strong voice to organisations like the United Nations and the European Union.

Mr Matayoshi says it's also an opportunity for the Marshall Islands, which is sometimes overlooked because of its close ties to the US, to work with South Pacific Island countries.

"To ensure that we are recognised as not just part of direct relationship with a specific country, but as a whole joining the rest of the Pacific Island brothers countries, and their association to be served as a block, so we have a stronger voice in addressing our issues here."

The president of the newly established Pacific Island Local Government Associations Network, James Matayoshi.