Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Leaders Retreat To Discuss Pacific’s Big Issues

Pacific Leaders Retreat To Discuss Region’s Big Issues

By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor, in Apia, Samoa.

Pacific islands leaders have gathered at a secure retreat at Samoa’s Sinalei Reef Resort today where they will discuss a raft of issues impacting on the Oceania region.

Welcome to the forum, but watch out for the busses.

Nauru’s financial collapse will feature high on the agenda, as will AIDS/HIV where the spread of the disease is entrenching in Fiji and other islands. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said it is urgent that solutions be found.

Other major issue facing leaders include how the Pacific can strengthen links between its nations. Distance, isolation, and size are barriers to co-operation between the island states on virtually common problems. Helen Clark said: “The key issue is the Pacific Plan”.

The Plan intends to map out agreement of all states to share governance resources, to plan strategically on security, on trade and economic co-operation.

Other issues requiring decisive action involve: preservation of cultural identity, the role of women in Pacific leadership, human rights observance of UN conventions, rights of minority groups including the young and disabled peoples, and a broader based aid co-operative that can take action when disasters strike.

Civil society leaders are urging the Forum to lobby the United Nations on decolonisation and specifically want Papua New Guinea to ratify the Bougainville constitution.

Australia is also being pressured to negotiate a fair maritime boundary with East Timor.

Tonga too is being asked to bring its constitution up to 21 century standards and is specifically being urged to introduce a new democratic constitution that is not subservient to its monarchy.

The leaders will decide on a core group of three “open minded” Pacific leaders including Helen Clark and Samoa PM Tupua Tupuola Efi to oversee progress and implementation of the Pacific Plan.

Photo Essay: Pacific Islands Forum Official Opening

Samoan leaders gather at Parliament Grounds for the official opening of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Samoa’s Parliament Grounds - official opening of the Pacific Islands Forum.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark speaking at the Pacific Islands Forum opening in Apia, Samoa.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark

Pacific Islands Forum chair, Samoa PM Tupua Tupuola Efi and Australia PM John Howard.

Pacific leaders at the official opening of the Pacific Islands Forum, Apia Samoa.

Dusk, Apia harbour, Samoa.

Pacific Leaders Hangout: Security watch at Aggie Grey’s Hotel, Apia, Samoa.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Are Only Old People Likely To Vote For Simon Bridges?

Around the world, young people seem to be gravitating to left wing policies and parties, leaving the old to prop up the conservative parties... the size of the gap suggests there’s more involved to this evolution than the usual clichés about the young being idealistic and the old being more realistic. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Fuss Over The PM’s Pacific Forum Trip

Truly, the abuse being levelled at PM Jacinda Ardern for doing her job at the Pacific Islands Forum shows just how much – and on how many levels – Ardern seems to enrage a goodly number of citizens. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On MP Pay And The REAL P.C. Danger Zone

There has never been anything remotely credible about the way parliamentarians would paint themselves as the helpless victims of the Remuneration Authority when it came to their pay increases... More>>