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Monday, 14 July 2014

Hope for science initiatives in Pacific Islands Forum

Leaders of the Pacific island nations are meeting later this month and will discuss a new framework for regional cooperation that aims to accelerate development, and which includes a range of proposals on regional science, education and health initiatives.
The Pacific Plan, a 2005 document designed to strengthen regional cooperation and cooperation, was reviewed last year and a range of improvements have been proposed to The Pacific Islands Forum, a political grouping of 16 countries in the Pacific.
The review’s recommendations — updated at a meeting in Suva, Fiji, this week (2-3 July) following country consultations — will feed into the discussions on how to advance the framework at the 45th Pacific Islands Forum and related meetings later this month (29 July to 1 August) in Koror, Palau.
Among the recommendations of the December 2013 review, which have been discussed within the countries since then, is a proposal that rather than refreshing the 2005 plan, a “New Framework for Pacific Regionalism” be produced.
Part of this should be to “investigate how to improve knowledge-sharing in the area of sustainable development” and to “develop uniquely Pacific indicators of both poverty and progress”.
A range of potential initiatives for the new framework have been proposed during the review process, including some on science, education and health.
For example, the review annex lists proposals for joint agricultural research and sharing of expertise, and an institution to advocate for, and protect, traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights.
“Science informs a lot of the regional work in environmental, infrastructure and health areas, and education underpins our region’s current and future human capital,” says Seini O’Connor, Pacific Plan adviser in the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
Stakeholders also want a regional statistical office, a shared fibre optic network to improve regional communications and better access to medical laboratories.

Source: islandsbusiness.com