Apr 10, 2021 Last Updated 4:12 AM, Apr 8, 2021

IN its endeavour to directly engage regional stakeholders, the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) has embarked on an initiative which many in the region will welcome as a break from what was traditionally considered an exclusive “Leaders Club.”

Following years of what some observers have perceived to be “trickle down” and “special-interest/agendadriven” regional development, moves have now been set in motion to ensure Pacific leaders take direct control of issues of specific concern to their peoples.

This follows the formation of a new Pacific Islands Forum Specialist SubCommittee which has been tasked with the role of ensuring that issues of real concern to Pacific islanders are deliberated on by Forum Leaders at their annual summits.

The eight-member sub-committee which is chaired by the SecretaryGeneral of the Pacific Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor, brings together a wide range of skills and experience which should assist island leaders make informed decisions on the region’s most pressing development priorities.

Specialist sub-committee members include: Teresa Manarangi-Trott of the Cook Islands, representing Small Islands States; William Kostka of the Federated States of Micronesia, representing Civil Society, Peter Kiely of New Zealand representing the Pacific Private Sector; Leonard Louma of Papua New Guinea representing Melanesia and Lopeti Senituli from Tonga representing Polynesia.

Other members include Gustav Aitaro of Palau representing Micronesia and one of the most respected development professionals in the region - Australian, John Davidson, representing Australia and New Zealand.” The specialist sub-committee is the result of efforts to rejuvenate and give a more structured and focused approach to the former Pacific Plan which has now been recast as the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

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