7 Sep 2016

Pacific NGO's pleased with Forum engagement space

6:52 am on 7 September 2016

Pacific civil society organisations are pleased with the improved engagement they are being accorded by the Pacific Island Forum.

One aspect of this was a leaders breakfast with civil society heads first held last year in Papua New Guinea and again being proposed ahead of this year's Forum leaders meeting in Pohnpei on Thursday.

This also includes having the main outcomes of a Micronesia Civil Society Roundtable held this week being presented to the Forum Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor for inclusion in the leaders meeting.

These include issues around the need for attention and policy discussions on climate migration, West Papua, gender-based violence, disabilities, youth development and strengthening regionalism particular with Northern Pacific states and territories.

PIANGO Executive Director, Emele Duituturanga.

PIANGO Executive Director, Emele Duituturanga. Photo: supplied

The Executive Director of the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs Emele Duituturanga said the increased engagement is an encouraging start towards having more issues and concerns of the people of the Pacific being heard by Forum leaders.

"There are a couple of issues there that if not for Civil Society wouldn't be going to the leaders and so we have a stake and we have a great sense of ownership that the leaders do discuss these issues that we put before them and they do consider the reccomendations that we have also been involved in formulating," she said.

Following the Civil Society Roundtable there was also a call for the Forum to strengthen development ties with Micronesia.

More than 50 representatives from Nauru, Marshall Islands, Guam, the Northern Marianas and the Federated States of Micronesia were joined by their counterparts from Australia, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga for the meeting.

Micronesian board representative of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations Sarah Thomas Nededog said the call for more vigorous regionalism arose because the Northern Pacific was not well informed about the policy processes of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The CSO Roundtable was organised with support from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the European Union.