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Pacific Islands Forum loses its gloss

Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

8 September 2011 MEDIA STATEMENT
Pacific Islands Forum loses its gloss

The Pacific Islands Forum looks set to end with a whimper rather than a bang given the Government has ignored some of the most pressing issues the region is facing, says Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maryan Street.

"While the Government’s new found concern over climate change should be lauded, questions now being raised by leaders of those countries most at risk of sea level rise about outstanding funding commitments, demonstrate it doesn’t always deliver on its promises.”

"Even worse, the Government has continued its path of ignoring civil society organisations and non-government organisations involved in the aid sector. Its refusal to support NGOs and civil society organisations to participate in or represent their views to PIF leaders is inexcusable,” Maryan Street said.

“Murray McCully may not like the NGO sector much, but their active exclusion from participation flies in the face of best efforts and best practice in aid delivery in the Pacific.

"Previously, this sector has been supported in running parallel activities during the PIF and delivering agreed statements to the PIF leaders for their consideration and inclusion in final communiques as they saw fit.

"Neither government nor the private sector has all the answers to the pressing issues of violence against women and children, corruption, poor maternal health and infant mortality statistics, governance training and educational achievements.

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“Mr McCully needs to acknowledge that partnership between government activity, the NGO sector and private enterprise will bring the best results. All we have seen this week however, has been the expansion of opportunities for the private sector to get rich on the back of the taxpayer's aid dollar.

"Women are seriously underrepresented in Pacific parliaments, yet they have also struggled to have their voices heard at this Forum. Where does that leave them?

“Millennium Development Goals for maternal health, infant mortality, access to health services and education will never be achieved if women's voices are not heard.

“Sustainable economic development is no use to our Pacific neighbours if workers are uneducated, disabled and oppressed by domestic violence or unable to address health needs. Sustainable economic development also needs a sustainable workforce," said Maryan Street.


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