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Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network

Press release

Launch of Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network

Thursday 16 November 2006, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), 36th Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA) - Linking Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) to domestic and international markets more effectively and responsibly and ensuring that agriculture and forestry are sustainably managed are the aims of the Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network, which was launched this morning by Dr Jimmie Rodgers, SPC Director-General, and Mr Vitolio Lui, SPREP Deputy Director, who was representing the Director of the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

"CTA, SPC and other regional organisations have designed a road map to create the network, and SPC has been unanimously designated to coordinate its preparatory activities and host it. This is the end of one process and the beginning of another that we hope will be equally successful," read Mr Lui on behalf of Mr Hansjrg Neun, CTA Director.

With globalisation of the world economy and its markets resulting in increased competition among countries, the Pacific Agricultural and Forestry Policy Network (PAFPNet) will help broaden stakeholders' participation in regional and national policy development. The network encourages the participation of community groups, such as women's and youth groups, churches and NGOs. It will accelerate regional harmonisation and rationalisation of standards and grades for trade, and will naturally forge closer alliances and cooperation between the Pacific Islands region and other regions of the world.

When describing the network, Mr Inoke Ratukalou, SPC Land Use and Resources Policy Adviser, said, "PAFPNet will focus on people and outcomes and will support regional economic cooperation among PICTs through dialogue and enhancement of regional and national policy themes, such as trade facilitation, biosecurity and trade, plant genetic resources, sustainable natural resource management, and capacity building."

"This is a forward-looking initiative and I want to congratulate all the bodies involved," commented Mr George Hoa'au, CRGA delegate from the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "It is my hope that it will anchor its facilitation role within the ordinary stories of communities and peoples. Sometimes regional bodies and even national governments make policies related to resources over which they really have no control. Policy bodies and grassroots communities need to be on the same page, and PAFPNet will help to achieve this."

He added, "This is the first time a network has included a research institute from Papua New Guinea, which is encouraging. There is expertise within the region, for example in New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand to name only a few countries, and I would like it to be tapped into as much as possible."

To find out more about the network, please go to the website: http://www.spc.int/PAFPNet.

For more information, contact Rosita Hoffmann, SPC Communications Officer, via email: RositaH@spc.int or by phone: +687 790442 (mobile).

Photo "Launch of PAFPNet.jpg": From left to right: Dr Jimmie Rodgers, SPC Director-General, Mr Georges Maniuri, CRGA 36 Chairperson from the Vanuatu Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr George Hoa'au, CRGA delegate from the Solomon Islands Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Inoke Ratukalou, SPC Land Use and Resources Policy Adviser, Mr Falanin Aukuso, SPC Suva-based Deputy Director-General, Mr Vitolio Lui, SPREP Deputy Director.

SPC member countries and territories: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, France, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna,.
More information on the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA):
CTA is an ACP-EU institution working in the field of information for development. It operates under the ACP-EU Cotonou Agreement and its headquarters are in The Netherlands.
When it was set up in 1984, CTA was given the challenging task of improving the flow of information among stakeholders in agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
CTA's work focuses on three key areas:
• providing information products and services (e.g. publications, question-and-answer services and database services);
• promoting the integrated use of communication channels, old and new, to improve the flow of information (e.g. e-communities, web portals, seminars and study visits); and
• building ACP capacity in information and communication management, mainly through training and partnerships with ACP bodies.
At the core of all CTA's activities are the partnerships with ACP national and regional bodies. CTA also works with a wide network of ACP-EU public and private sector bodies, as well as international organisations around the world.
CTA's overall aim is to better serve the ever-changing information needs of all stakeholders in ACP agricultural and rural development. Through its partners, CTA is working with these stakeholders to achieve the goals shared by the whole development community: poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

Ends

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