Tuvalu has asked Pacific Leaders to consider deferring the formal appointment of the new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum until a face-to-face meeting next year.
Islands Business is aware of four candidates for the role; Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Marshall Islands Ambassador to the US, Gerald Zackios, international civil servant to the UN and regional organisations, Tonga’s international and regional civil servant Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua and former Pacific Community (SPC) Secretary General, Solomon Islander Dr Jimmie Rodgers.
However Pacnews reports that Tuvalu Prime Minister and chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, Kausea Natano has written to Leaders asking them to accept a proposal by Vanuatu to defer the formal, face-to-face session Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting to 2021 – to be hosted by government of Fiji.
Natano is requesting a virtual Special Forum Leaders Retreat later this year to consider the ongoing impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on the region and Vanuatu’s offer to host the annual Leaders meeting in 2023.
The contract of current Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor expires at the end of this year, but Leaders could extend it until they meet face-to-face next year. Alternatively they could vote for one of the four contenders. The jockeying has already begun.