Civil society engagement sessions must become a permanent part of Pacific islands Forum leaders meetings says the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs executive director, Emele Duituturaga.

Duituturaga who presented alongside five other CSO representatives from Micronesia and Polynesia at the TROIKA breakfast prior to the official opening of the leaders meeting Pohnpei, FSM said the experience was a positive one for the team.


“Overall, the experience of civil society has been a positive one. The team selected by the CSO Forum held in Suva were relatively new to the regionalism but they all reflected positively about their experiences and the policy issues covered when presenting to the five leaders from the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea and Samoa,” she said.

“We are grateful that the Forum Secretariat allowed 10 more members of the CSO sector to be present at the breakfast including Pacific Disability Forum’s executive director, Setareki Macanawai, representatives of the newly revived FSM Association of NGOs (FANGO) and NGO leaders from the Northern Pacific.”

She said Micronesian CSO representatives that attended the breakfast found the experience empowering and were keen to participate in future CSO engagement platforms with Pacific leaders.

“Their enthusiasm shows in the revival of their umbrella groupings in order to engage more effectively and better understand the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.”

“It has also cemented our resolve as the PIANGO family to continue to create spaces so that CSOs can continue to engage north, south and western Pacific colleagues in policy discussions that affect the communities we serve.”

Duituturaga said that due to these positive experiences, PIANGO is calling on the leaders and the Forum Secretariat to ensure that CSO engagement becomes a permanent feature for future PIF leaders meetings.

“We were particularly encouraged by the commitment made by the Samoan Prime Minister at the TROIKA breakfast to expand the current form of CSO engagement (TROIKA Breakfast) to a full-fledged session with all 16 leaders in Apia, Samoa next year.”  SOURCE: PIANGO/PACNEWS [/restrict]