Pacific C.S.O.s undergo 40-strong virtual meeting

Forty civil society organisations, including many from Samoa, are gathering online this week for the sixth Pacific Island Forum meeting for community groups on the region’s priorities.

From Samoa are the Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G.) represented by President Lina Chang and Samoa Umbrella for N.G.O.s (S.U.N.G.O.) represented by Raymond Christian Voigt.

From June 3 to 9, the organisations from 15 Pacific island countries are discussing their needs, policy expectations and how to best transmit those to their leaders.

P.I.F. Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor. said with the global COVID-19 pandemic, civil society views are especially important.

“People from civil society have a unique perspective on what is happening in the region, this is important to enrich regional debate and helps to influence what the policy decisions should be for the leadership of this region.”

Their discussions will eventually be put to the Pacific Island Forum leader’s summit, which was initially scheduled for August in Vanuatu but has been postponed because of the impacts of COVID-19 and Cyclone Harold. 

A central focus for this year’s forum is how grassroots communities and networks are responding to COVID-19. Dame Taylor said there was an overwhelming response to participate despite all the challenges each group is facing. 

In Samoa, civil society organisations were honoured for their contributions to the pandemic response in the second stimulus package, released last month by the Ministry of Finance.

Samoa Victims Support Group, Faataua le Ola, Mapuifagalele Home of the Elderly, Nuanua o le Alofa, Loto Taumafai, Senese and the Divine Mercy Moamoa are just a few of the social welfare groups chosen to receive part of a proposed $500,000 budget.

The 40 C.S.O. representatives this year are from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, RMI, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The forum is funded by the European Union in a bid to get people outside Government more engaged in policy making and monitoring of gender equality.


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