22 November 2013

Pacific cooperation stressed at Eighth Conference of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Coordinated and inclusive approach to sustainable development necessary

Press Release

The importance of coordinated engagement by Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) in shaping the post-2015 development agenda should not be overlooked.

This is a key message emerging from the high-level discussion taking place at the 8th Conference of the Pacific Community at the Vale ni Bose complex in Suva, Fiji. The meeting is attended by ministers and delegations from the 26 member governments of the Pacific Community as well as observers, including Timor-Leste, agencies of the United Nations, and the European Union. 

There has been a call for a coordinated approach to development that is inclusive and focused on clear priorities for the region. This requires increased investment in partnerships to ensure lasting and meaningful outcomes that address priorities critical to the Pacific Islands region.

Mrs. Noumea Simi, Assistant Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Finance in Samoa, said, ‘We request the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to help us develop policies and improve knowledge sharing in the area of sustainable development. Sustainable development goals need to be made more concrete and implementable.’

‘SPC is in a strategic position to be able to assist countries,’ she said, highlighting the important role of the joint country strategies, national development frameworks and increased regional coordination, ‘so that those with the highest needs and minimal resources are targeted for priority assistance.’

Delegates stressed the need for effective regional and national responses to climate change and praised SPC’s efforts to date in supporting Pacific governments to adopt integrated, programmatic responses to climate, disaster and human security risks.

SPC is assisting nationally led efforts to advance sustainable development in Pacific societies, including improving peoples’ ability to lead long and healthy lives, access education, and enjoy sustainable livelihoods.

The conference – which is the governing body of SPC – is held every two years.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) celebrated 66 years of service to Pacific Island countries and territories in 2013.

SPC member countries and territories: American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States of America, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna.

On Easter Island, dedicated few trying to preserve native Rapa Nui language

Easter Island's Rapa Nui language nearly died after Chile annexed the island. But, perhaps sensing that losing the language would endanger the island's status as a major tourist draw, the Chilean government is now working with the people of Easter Island to preserve the language and teach it to a new generation.

The South Pacific Easter Island’s towering stone Moai figures lure in 60,000 visitors a year.

Islanders smile, sing and dance in polyester costumes to cater to the mostly Spanish-speaking spenders. Ever since Chile annexed Easter Island more than a century ago, the Spanish language has been chipping away at the Polynesian-based language called Rapa Nui.

But these tourists, fuelling the island’s economy, are also diluting the culture they came to see. Now, with only a couple thousand speakers left, the islanders are upping their effort to revive the Rapa Nui language.

Until the late 1990s, the Chilean government effectively outlawed the islanders from speaking in Rapa Nui. Any public sector job or office required knowing and speaking in Spanish.

Anything involving the schools, police or property rights was in Spanish too.

Even the great, great granddaughter of a Rapa Nui King, Alicia Makohe, grew up speaking Spanish. She taught herself Rapa Nui at 14.