Non-State Actors (NSA) play a vital role in policy development and implementation across the Pacific region. Ensuring civil society and private sector organizations have the capacity to participate effectively is a priority for the Pacific Islands Forum.
This week NSA representatives from 15 Forum Island Countries have gathered in Suva to participate in a regional level capacity building program designed to share and further develop technical skills and competencies in public policy engagement.
“NSAs throughout the Pacific region are representative of diverse constituencies and have a key role to play in regional policy making processes and implementation. In order to be in a position to participate and effectively engage with regional policy makers it is necessary for NSAs in the Pacific to have the requisite skills and knowledge in policy making and engagement,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Michael Noa Bete Din, is a deaf participant, representing the Fiji Association for the Deaf in his capacity as Vice President. Din said that at first he was very nervous but began to gain confidence as the days progressed.
“It has really been wonderful, I have learnt a lot. I enjoyed the use of activities to define the different policies and different categories. The highlight for me was the session on budget analysis where the training was very detailed. This session has really empowered me and I look forward to working with other Disability Program Officers when we lobby with government especially during the national budget submission process.”
The Program for Strengthening Non-State Actors (NSA) Engagement in Regional Policy Development Implementation is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
Speaking at the opening of the workshop at Victoria Palms Hotel, the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said: ”The European Union has a long-standing cooperation with Civil Society Organizations and Non State Actors (NSA) in the Pacific. Non State Actors are essential for shaping development policies and processes and for anchoring them through broad-based democratic ownership. The European Union recognizes that civil society organizations are essential in promoting democratic governance: Non State Actors also raise awareness about local and global development challenges and promote actions to respond to these. The EU is proud to support them.
Priscilla Kare, of the Papua New Guinea Education Advocacy Network, said, “The training has enhanced my capacity in specific approaches to budget analysis and policy making decision and I look forward as a member of the National Budget Committee to having a huge contribution to policy input and budget discussions at national level.” [/restrict]