FOC endorse five priority issues for Leader’s Summit in PNG

​The new process of implementing the framework for regionalism has been welcomed with some reservation by the Forum Officials Committee (FOC).

FOC is the governing body that oversees the work of the Suva-based Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

“The Committee recognised that this was the first time for it to compose the Leaders agenda by reference to recommendations of the Specialist Sub Committee and that the new process required different considerations and approaches, said the FOC pre-Forum Session report of 12-13 August.

FOC said, ‘It identified the process as an iterative one, and that the process would be further clarified in light of lessons learned.”

Having said that, the Committee however welcomed the progress of the implementation of the framework for regionalism, including the establishment of and processes to support the Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism (SSCR).

At its 45th meeting in Palau last year, Forum Leaders endorsed the formation of the SSCR, whose key role is to identify and assess priority initiatives to advance Pacific regionalism for Leaders consideration.

The eight members the SSCR comprised of Leonard Louma (PNG), Gustav Aitaro (Palau), Lopeti Senituli (Tonga), John Davidson (Australia), Teresa Manarangi-Trott (Cook Islands), William Kostka (FSM) representing civil society organisations, Peter Kiely (NZ) for the private sector and Dame Meg Taylor, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum as chair of the committee.

Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor described the work of the SSCR as a ‘key part of the framework for Pacific regionalism and represents a ‘shift in the development paradigm in our region’ to one where Leaders are positioned to determine the agenda and priorities for our region.

Forum Officials have noted the priority issues identified by the SSCR would be included on the agenda of the Forum Leaders Meeting in September in Port Moresby.

The five issues are increased economic returns from fisheries activity and maritime surveillance, climate change and disaster risk management, information and communication technology, West Papua and cervical cancer.