PACIFIC regionalism plays an important role in effectively addressing the challenges and threats faced in the Pacific Region. This was one of the issues that were highlighted at the European Union Regional Pacific Seminar held in Suva on Saturday. Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor said the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, endorsed by forum leaders in 2014, represented forum leaders' renewed emphasis on regionalism, as a means to achieve regions development goals and aspirations. "We face common threats arising from climate change, ever encroaching sea levels, and more frequent and more intense disasters from natural and man-made hazard risks," she said. "And it is a geographic fact that we are situated some distance from global markets and political centres, which makes communication and transport costs expensive but it does not diminish our voice on issues affecting us at key political fora." Dame Meg said regionalism would help the region to effectively address the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities and potential that the Pacific possessed. She said regionalism must be inclusive and relevant to all people across the Pacific. "The concerns and issues of all people, including Pacific citizens, civil society, the private sector, religious and faith-based institutions, academics and scholars, must inform the identification and delivery of regional priorities, as well as any decisions about engaging in forms of regionalism or regional integration," she said. The Pacific Islands Forum comprises 18 island countries and territories, including some of the smallest nations in the world and linguistically and culturally, it is the most diverse region of the world.
Source: The Fiji Times Online