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MSG senior officials meeting unlocks opportunities for regional development
2:05 pm GMT+12, 10/02/2020, Fiji

The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Senior Officials Meeting was officially opened Monday with the reaffirmation by the MSG Members on having the strengthened collaboration and renewed commitment as the foundation to advance the interests and enable comprehensive development of Melanesian sub-region and Pacific region in entirety.
 
This was the key message conveyed as the two day MSG SOM Meeting was officially opened by Chair of the Senior Officials Meeting Barbara Age, Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Papua New Guinea.
 
Age thanked the Fijian Government for its support in having Fiji to host the MSG Governing Body Meetings which convened at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.
 
She said the deliberations over the next 3 days will be crucial for MSG members to consolidate recommendations for the Melanesian sub-region to leverage active participation and support for the strategic action plans in taking MSG Secretariat to greater heights. A key feature of the MSG SOM Meeting is to review and finalise the MSG Work Programme and Budget of the Secretariat to map the way forward for the MSG Secretariat.  
 
“I am adamant that our presence here this morning, not only demonstrates your strong commitment and determination to working together as One United Melanesia as enshrined by our founding Fathers, but a manifestation of our shared vision and commitment towards the strengthening of our Organisation, the MSG Secretariat.
 
“We are consciously aware of the climate change issues affecting our Island states, human right issues, violence against women and girls and children, good governance and accountability issues, national and regional security issues, natural and man-made disasters, neo colonialism and the negative threats of globalisation to name a few. The ever changing landscape of our regional geo-politics requires our firm commitment and recognition to bond together as an united front, and a united sub-regional force.
 
“Our Governing Body Meetings is a meeting of the MSG Constituent Bodies and therefore demands utmost respect and the dignity it deserves. Therefore, it is our responsibility to oversee and approve the work programme and budget, including the policy intentions of the MSG Secretariat by providing the overarching guidance on its relevance, and its harmonisation with the principles establishing the MSG and one that seeks to serve our Leaders’ Mandates as well as the Melanesian people which we represent,”Age elaborated.
 
She also commended the leadership of Director General MSG, Ambassador Amena Yauvoli for the significant improvements in the financial outlook of the MSG Secretariat.
 
“In this regard, I wish to commend the hard working Director General for continuing to bring to Governing Body’s attention the much needed financial measures since taking the leadership of the Secretariat in April 2016.”
 
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Yauvoli reiterated that the MSG Governing Body Meeting is a great platform for the MSG Members to consolidate actions plans and common interests for the development of the Pacific as a region. It is also to review the work of the governing body in providing the overarching guidance, monitoring and evaluation essential for the strategic repositioning of the MSG Secretariat.
 
“Going forward, it is important to have regular governing body meetings as it provides the overarching guidance to the work of the Secretariat. And it also reflects strong and bold leadership which is important in taking the organisation into the trajectory that remains consistent with the hopes and wishes of our founding fathers for the Secretariat." Ambassador Yauvoli said.  
 
“Moreover regular meetings is important in strategically supporting our members to prosper in their national sustainable development goals,” Ambassador Yauvoli adds.
 
He thanked Minister for Foreign Affairs, Inia Seruiratu for his tremendous support towards initiating discussions between Fiji and PNG on having this meeting, whilst he visited PNG last year and held a meeting with his counterpart PNG Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Patrick Pruaitch.
 
The MSG Governing Body Meeting brings together Foreign Ministers and Senior Officials from MSG Member countries, including Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, FLNKS, and Indonesia as Associate Members, and MSG Observers.
 
MSG SOM Meeting will continue today with the lead up to the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) on Wednesday 12 February 2020 and the Trade Ministers Meeting from Thursday 13 February 2020.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS


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