Dialogue on Conflict, Peace and Security Issues
17 May 2013
Joint PIFS-SPC Regional Civil Society Dialogue on Conflict, Peace and Security Issues
17 May 2013
A regional dialogue for civil society organisations on conflict, peace, and security issues was held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat from 6-10 May 2013.
The dialogue was jointly organised by the Forum Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Regional Rights Resource Team (SPC-RRRT), under a mandate from the Forum Regional Security Committee (FRSC) in 2009 to strengthen engagement between the Forum Secretariat and civil society organisations on conflict, peace, and security issues.
Forum Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, said he was pleased with the joint partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community on such an important mandate, adding that “as both regional organisations work with civil society partners, the dialogue provided an opportunity for different stakeholders, representative of the array of communities in the Pacific, to share experiences and discuss mutual areas of cooperation around human rights and security issues.”
Participants at the dialogue were representative of national, regional, and international humanitarian and human rights organisations working on disability, health, education, humanitarian assistance, gender equality, sexual orientation and gender identities, youth, good governance, peace and security, and community media. Civil society representatives from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu attended the regional dialogue.
Over the weeklong dialogue, civil society partners discussed the Pacific Islands Forum reporting mechanisms and processes, as well as the benefits of adopting the Human Rights Based Approach. Rich discussions were also held around the thematic areas of human rights violations, full and effective participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities, gender equality, sexual and gender based violence, sexual orientation and gender identity, meaningful youth engagement and participation, accessibility of affordable quality education, economic empowerment, communications and media, and inclusive and effective engagement with civil society organisations.
Civil society partners also agreed to an Outcomes Statement, which, amongst other things, called for urgent action to address sorcery related violence and killings in Papua New Guinea, the effects of climate change, most notably the severe drought in the Republic of Marshall Islands, and the imminent challenges of climate induced migration of Pacific peoples. Civil society partners also called for recognition of the diverse national and regional civil society organisations and called for increased access to consistent, multi-modal, accountable, participative, systematic and meaningful engagement with policy formulation and decision making mechanisms, including the Pacific Islands Forum.
Secretary General Slade welcomed the wide range of matters raised by civil society, and commended civil society organisations for their hard work and dedication toward ensuring better and safer lives for all Pacific peoples. Secretary Slade also noted that “Although some of the issues raised may be beyond the mandate of the FRSC, a fair number of the issues raised are relevant to the work of the wider Secretariat, and I reiterate our commitment to continue to work with civil society on all common areas of interest.”