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Samoa has become the second Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) member to suggest a review of the selection process for the Secretary General (SG) of the regional political body based in Fiji.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape expressed strong views on the need to immediately review the processes and procedures in the appointment of the Secretary General – which has resulted in the withdrawal of a third of the Forum members and threatened regional solidarity.
PM Marape suggested, “The Secretary General’s position be rotated amongst the three sub-regions for a four year term, non-contestable upon expiry.”
Today, the office of the Prime Minister of Samoa supported the call to review the appointment procedures to ensure there is a robust process in place that allows equitable opportunity to serve the region at the highest level.
“As experience has now shown, we should no longer rely on ‘past verbal understandings’ as these can be prone to different interpretations.
“The unavoidable reality is that the Forum leadership changes from time to time. I would therefore suggest that the SG selection process in future should be unambiguous and clear. Most of us are members of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and the model of selection of the Secretary-General on the sub regional rotation could work for us. What must be guaranteed is that each sub-group must, when it is their turn, submit the best nomination.
“Let us focus on what binds us together, not on what divides us. It is our sincere hope that the Leaders face-to-face meeting in Fiji will provide that window of opportunity God willing, said the statement from the Office of the Prime Minister in Samoa. The statement commits Samoa’s support for the Pacific Way of resolving regional disputes.
“However intractable and insurmountable our problems may appear, there is always a way, the Pacific Way to reach a solution - unrushed and done in a considered manner with respect for the diversity of leaders’ and members’ viewpoints. In my view, situations for which no consensus is apparent can be wholesomely achieved in a face-to-face meeting.
“We have over many years demonstrated how to recapture the collective potential of our shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean, based on a shared geography, ocean identity, and resources and how we can organise ourselves as one collective if we are to address our increasingly common challenges and achievement of our objectives.
As Pacific leaders we have taken huge strides to present our region not as a collection of fragmented small islands, but rather as a united group of large ocean states. We are all attuned to how we can best leverage our solidarity, our strength and areas of opportunity, as one region and we have gained significant traction in this regard in the past and recently as is demonstrated through the support for the sub-regional representation of some of our regional organisations such as SPREP and SPC, and the UN Multi-Country Office in the North Pacific., said the official government statement released today from Apia.
Fiji is expected to host the face-to-face meeting in August this year.
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