Development partners told to align support to regional priorities, PM O’Neill

​The region’s 17 development partners have committed to supporting the five priorities endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in Port Moresby last week.

Pacific Leaders engaged in meaningful roundtable discussion with the development partners Friday where they were briefed on decisions made on climate change, the 10 year fisheries roadmap, information and communication technology (ICT), cervical cancer and West Papua.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill of Papua New Guinea told journalists after the meeting that the donors and partners were very engaging in the dialogue.

“In fact most of them are already doing some work in these key five areas. They have committed to engaging the region more meaningfully to achieve these targets.

“In the past, we’ve had very broad priorities which were never achieved. We have now narrowed them down to 4-5 key areas we hope we can make some progress in the coming 12 months.

PM O’Neill said donors were very constructive in their engagement and ‘we hope that they will come on board and work with the Forum Secretariat to implement some of these priorities.’

He said the new process of setting priorities has provided a platform for the region to determine its priorities and engage donors to support these priorities.

“In the summary of the discussion today, I stated very clearly that the donors must align themselves to the regional priorities endorsed by the Leaders, said PM O’Neill.

Forum Secretariat Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor paid tribute to Prime Minister O’Neill, the government and people of Papua New Guinea for the success of her first summit of Pacific Leaders, since taking office in December last year.

“I am deeply grateful the Hon Prime Minister and the government and people of PNG for hosting us successfully. I am very proud to be back in my beloved homeland and I take this opportunity to thank you the media for being actively involved and showing interest on regional issues.

“You will now hold us accountable on the five issues. We will need to report to the people of the region on what has happened to their concerns. The Leaders have now mandated us to implement the framework for regionalism, Dame Meg told journalists.

She admits it will not be an easy 12 months for her team at the Forum Secretariat in Suva as they begin work on the implementation of the Leaders decision.

“Some of the huge priorities for our region are climate change and fisheries. Leaders have made a bold decision today that 20 years was too long to wait for returns, they want something done in five years, said Dame Meg.

The Federated States of Micronesia will host the 47th Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in 2016.