First female Secretary General of the Forum Dame Meg Taylor

Koror, Palau-August 1 (SPC/RTVT): The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) congratulates Dame Meg Taylor on her election as the next Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Dame Meg brings impressive credentials and experience to this role and SPC looks forward to working closely with her and her team to strengthen the partnership between the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.

SPC Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga said the SPC and the Forum are sister organisations in the Pacific, working for the good of our member countries and their people.

“Greater coordination and closer engagement between the two organisations can only be for the benefit the region as a whole, and I very much look forward to working closely with Dame Meg. I am convinced that, together, we can create a powerful platform for projecting the development challenges of Pacific Island countries and territories onto the international stage and ensuring they are addressed in a pragmatic and sustainable manner.”

Meanwhile, Tongan Prime Minister, Lord Tu’ivakano said the appointment of Dame Meg Taylor as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General was history as she is the first female being appointed to the post.

Radio and Television Tonga’s Viola Ulakai said the process for the appointment of the new Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General was done in the Pacific way.

“That was a response from Tonga’s Prime Minister Lord Tu’ivakano during an interview with him on the Island of Peleliu where Leaders have held their retreat and finalizing of issues that they have been discussed this week. The same response was given by the Chairman of this year’s Forum, the President of Palau, Mr Tommy Remengesau, during a press conference at the end of the retreat.

“The new Secretary General of the Pacific Forum Secretariat is a highly qualified lawyer who has studied at Harvard University. She was also a former Ambassador of Papua New Guinea to the United Nations and the United States of America and served as Principal Ombudsman to the International Finance Cooperation of the World Bank.

“She will start with her new job when the outgoing Secretary General, Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade ends his two-year term in October this year. The Leaders yesterday have expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude to Mr Slade for his significant and valued contribution to the strengthening of the region during his six years in office.

“They also acknowledged his contribution during challenging times.”

Meanwhile, Lord Tu’ivakano said that Papua New Guinea will host next year’s Forum.

He said Papua New Guinea is thinking of hosting it to coincide with the Pacific Games in Port Moresby but it’s an issue to be taken up with its Prime Minister as the Coronation in Tonga will also be taking place next year.

Leaders have also endorsed the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and they also tasked the Forum Secretariat to continue the analysis of Forum regional meetings.

The Leaders also reaffirmed their commitments to implementation of the Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy and the Framework for a Pacific Ocean scape, their role in Pacific Ocean governance, sustainable development, management and conservation.

Leaders noted the strengthened Private Sector Dialogue arrangement involving the Economic Ministers and they also have agreed to admit Spain and Turkey to Post-Forum Dialogue Partner membership.

The Forum also reaffirmed their support for New Zealand’s being a candidate for the 2015/2016 term in the United Nations Security Council – to maintain a Pacific voice in the world’s primary body to address international peace and security.

The also welcomed Australia’s pledge of $2million Australian dollars to extend the Pacific patrol boat program to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Forum Island Countries, with the first replacement vessels to come on line from 2018. Tonga’s Naval boats is part of the Australian stated program.

The Pacific Forum Leaders’ Meeting ended today.

Read Story: Tonga Daily News

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