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[Pacific Plan Review 2013] FSM identifies need for more north-south Pacific connections

PRESS STATEMENT 21/13

Wednesday 15th May 2013

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At their meetings with the Pacific Plan Review team in Pohnpei last week, national leaders and government officials from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) highlighted the challenges of forging regional cooperation amongst small states with varying historic relationships and geographic spread.

CAPTION: Pacific Plan Review team members Mr Redley Killion, Dr Nick Poletti, and Mr Robert Igarawith Heads of Government Departments in FSM.

Vice President Alik welcomed the Pacific Plan Review, which coincides with FSM’s own strategic planning and policy development following recent elections. He re-affirmed FSM’s commitment to regional cooperation, noting that “cooperation is necessary for promoting development efforts within countries and for voicing the Pacific’s concerns in international arena on such issues as climate change”.

Secretary of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Lorin S. Robert, called for regional approaches that can reach out to the small island members.  He suggested that the recent appointment of a Pacific Plan Desk Officer in FSM would help bring a much needed connection to the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the broader region’s work under the Pacific Plan.

“Traditionally, our closest ties have been with the United States” he explained. “But to truly benefit from Pacific regionalism, we will need better links to Pacific islands in the south, and greater ownership of initiatives such as the Pacific Plan”.

The Pacific Plan Review team, led in their Pohnpei consultations by former FSM Vice-President Mr. RedleyKillion, sympathised with the difficulty of bridging the north-south divide in a physical sense – their air travels to consult with all Forum Member countries and Associate Members have taken them on a circuitous route across the region, made longer by infrequent air connections.

The team also noted the challenges of ensuring mobility across the Pacific in terms of educational qualifications and workforce skills. “The refreshed Pacific Plan will need to consider whether these difficulties can be overcome through regional action”, concluded Mr Redley Killion.
(Ends)

For further information and media enquiries please email PacificPlanMedia@forumsec.org.fj.

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