In May, Pacific Leaders are expected to discuss the Pacific Plan Review report at a Special Retreat in the Cook Islands and the Forum Secretariat is encouraging civil society to provide feedback to their Leaders before they meet.
The Pacific Plan Review officially ended in October 2013, when Leaders received Sir Mekere’s final report; this is their first meeting to discuss the report’s final recommendations. Now that the dates of the Retreat have been determined, The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is encouraging civil society to engage with their countries’ Leaders to comment on the final Review report and discuss their views on its recommendations.
“When the Rt Hon Sir Mekere Morauta and his team embarked on their Review of the Pacific Plan last year, they made clear in their methodology that they wanted to hear civil society and private sector perspectives on Pacific regionalism,” says Seini O’Connor, Pacific Plan Adviser at The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. “Review team members met with non-state actor groups in all the 18 Pacific countries they visited. Their final report’s annexes provide a list of the hundreds of citizens that engaged in these consultations.”
Civil society perspectives were shared not only in Review consultation meetings, but online for all to see. Over 70 submissions were received.
These have recently been collated into a user-friendly digest, making the key messages more accessible.
“Now it’s crucial that civil society groups engage with their Leaders and officials on the final Review report and its recommendations” says Ms. O’Connor. “Sir Mekere and his team called for significant change – now is the time to reflect if this is the change that the Pacific wants”.
If Leaders give their sign-off on the Review recommendations at the upcoming Special Retreat, the Forum Secretariat has said it will hold further consultations around the region. These consultations would be focused on developing the details of the “New Framework for Pacific Regionalism” proposed by the Review team.