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Pacific leaders discuss good governance and development for smallest island states

14 June 2012
Regional consultative meeting held in Tonga

Senior leaders from some of the Pacific’s smallest states are meeting over three days in Nuku’alofa, Tonga, from 13 June 2012 to examine ways to enhance good governance to foster national development and to ascertain key challenges faced by democratic institutions.

HRH Princess Mele Siu’ilikutapu Kalaniuvalu Fotofili of Tonga and members of parliament and senior government officials from Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands and Niue are among the delegates participating in the regional consultative meeting, jointly co-ordinated by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The event is being held to discuss shared problems related to the smallness of some island states and the challenges faced, including the need to balance international obligations of best practice and local expectations that fit within the confines of limited financial capabilities.

The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu’ivakano, commended the Commonwealth Secretariat for promoting dialogue on issues pertaining to good governance through the Commonwealth Pacific Governance Facility based in Honiara, Solomon Islands. He noted the timeliness of discussions on democratic governance in Tonga given recent political developments and the reforms in the country facilitated by His Late Majesty King George Tupou V.

Max Everest-Phillips, Director of the Governance and Institutional Development Division of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said the consultative meeting will identify shared challenges, success stories, and opportunities for joint learning and collaboration. He added that the size of small island states affects key characteristics, which influence the level of development.

Former President of Kiribati and Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Sir Ieremia Tabai, stressed the need to find solutions for the problems of Pacific island states, where each country faces unique circumstances. Sir Ieremia said these can be facilitated with the assistance of regional and international institutions.