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EDITORIAL: PIDF Leads The Way And Breaks New Ground For Pacific Islanders

It’s no secret that the Pacific Island Development Forum was set up as an extension of the Voreqe Bainimarama Government policies in the region. Its purpose is to drive through
10 Apr 2015 09:50
EDITORIAL: PIDF Leads The Way And Breaks New Ground For Pacific Islanders

It’s no secret that the Pacific Island Development Forum was set up as an extension of the Voreqe Bainimarama Government policies in the region.

Its purpose is to drive through regional and national frameworks, transformative changes by focusing exclusively on the sustainable and inclusive development of the Pacific small island developing countries , territories and people.

So far 17 countries have attended the last two Forums with more expected to join after the establishment of the PIDF agreement.

To do this, the Forum last month launched an Online Consultation Campaign to gain feedback on the PIDF establishment agreement. It asserts to be a more inclusive and engaging approach than that of its rival.

The agreement is to be tabled and approved at the Forum’s third summit in August.

The long established Pacific Island Forum on the other hand has been dominated by Australia and New Zealand since its formulation. They are both significant aid donors and big markets for exports from the other Pacific island countries.

One of the initiators of its formation, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, in his memoir “The Pacific Way” said: “Points were made that Australia and New Zealand were more developed countries and did not face the same problems as the islands; they would dominate the Forum and jeopardize the interests of the islands. ..I argued forcibly for their inclusion on the grounds that the islands wanted to retain close relations with the two and hoped that better relations would be maintained in the future.

“The islands looked to Australia and New Zealand for leadership and help in finding solutions to their problems, political independence was meaningless without economic independence and the islands needed the cooperation from Australia and New Zealand as the main trading countries in the region. Happily, the view prevailed and Australia and New Zealand became members.”

Along the way, both our larger neighbours began to assert themselves to the point of belligerence.

This was not the spirit in which they were first admitted. The PIDF aims to address this imbalance and focus on giving Pacific Islanders and their leaders  their true place on the regional and global stage.

Admittedly, it’s a work in progress but the canoes have already set sail for the new horizons. We look forward to what the future holds.

Feedback:  rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

 




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