[Pacific Plan Review 2013] New Caledonia: much to offer Pacific, and much to gain
PRESS STATEMENT 16/13
Wednesday 1st May 2013
CAPTION: (r-l) Chair of the Pacific Plan Review, Sir Mekere Morauta, New Caledonia President Harold Martin, and Consultant Peter Bazeley at their meeting in Noumea.
New Caledonia President Harold Martin, just returned from France, met this week with the Pacific Plan Review team to share his views on Pacific regionalism. The Review’s Chair, Sir Mekere Morauta, KCMG, and consultant Peter Bazeley listened as the President explained how New Caledonia has been increasingly orientating itself towards the Pacific region since the signing of the Noumea accord.
As an overseas territory of France, New Caledonia does not currently enjoy full Membership of the Pacific Forum.** However, the President explained, it has strong bilateral and sub regional ties with many Forum countries. New Caledonia also supports other Pacific nations through cooperative arrangements and through contributions to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) – and it has the capacity to share its expertise and other resources further.
To be more inclusive and greater benefit, “plans for greater regional cooperation should be shared acrossall Pacific countries”, the President suggested.
Representatives of local Consultative Chambers also met with the Review team. They explained several of the existing mechanisms for regional cooperation in vocational skill-building. Patrick Cottin, a director of training at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), noted the potential to expand skills and market knowledge – both in New Caledonia and in other Pacific countries – through increased regional cooperation.
“We have a lot to learn from each other”, he said.
The possible benefits of an integrated regional Chamber of Commerce for the Pacific were also discussed.
CAPTION: Representatives from New Caledonia Chambers of Commerce meet with the Pacific Plan Review team in Noumea.
The Pacific Plan Review team has met with a range of stakeholders in all of its country consultations, including political leaders, officials, civil society organisations, private sector representatives and academics. Common themes emerging from their discussions are captured in their “Review Note 3: Lines of Enquiry”, published on the Review website. Interested stakeholders are also invited to make short written submissions to the Review team, to share views on regional integration and cooperation in the Pacific, and the role of the Pacific Plan.
** New Caledonia has been an Associate Member of the Pacific Islands Forum since 2006, and sits on the Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC). PPAC is the steering committee for the Pacific Plan Review.
For further information and media enquiries please email PacificPlanMedia@forumsec.org.fj.