REMARKS: DSG Nayasi delivers opening remarks at PIF Regional CSO Forum 2024

Remarks and Speeches
18 June 2024

Opening Remarks by Deputy Secretary General, Esala Nayasi
Main Conference Centre, PIF 
18 June 2024


- Representatives of our Civil Society Organisations
- Ladies and gentlemen

• It is my distinct honour to welcome you all here this morning to the Forum Secretariat, as we open the 2024 Civil Society Organisations Forum.

• May I firstly convey the sincere apologies of the Secretary General, Mr Baron Waqa, who is abroad on duty travel. Having commenced his term two weeks ago, we have briefed him on the CSO programme at the Secretariat, and he very much looks forward to engaging with civil society over the course of his term at the Secretariat. Ladies and gentlemen, we are humbled by your presence here today. It demonstrates the value you continue to place on working with us through the Forum architecture on our common goals.

• We welcome the theme for this forum, supporting communities for a transformative and resilient Pacific, and recognise its alignment with the 53rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting theme for ‘A Transformative Resilient Pasifiki: Build Better Now’.

• Over the coming days, I commit to you the resources of the Secretariat and its personnel, to better understand and arrange yourselves against the region’s key priorities, particularly as you prepare for key upcoming regional meetings.

Reflection as a grouping

• Indeed, this year marks a decade since the endorsement of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. In 2014, the role and inclusion of civil society was elevated in a way that we had not seen in the Forum’s 40-year history.

• It would be remiss of us to not look back and reflect on the various achievements we have made in the decade that followed.

• The FPR well and truly set in motion the engagement mechanisms that has made regional policy formulation more comprehensive and inclusive. This perhaps was most evident in the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and its Implementation Plan. The annual NSA dialogues with Leaders and Ministers further demonstrate the influence you have yielded and created as a grouping.

• This however is not to say that there have not been challenges, or opportunities for further improvement.

• In fact, I personally met with a number of you or your organisations recently, as a part of the Secretariat’s in-country consultations that we have been undertaking in the first half of this year. And the broad feedback from CSOs is clear - we need to create more opportunities for meaningful engagement with CSOs, including engagement in all other facets of the PIF’s work – not just the ‘big ticket’ items. We look forward to working with you to address these necessary improvements to our partnership.

• Nevertheless, ten years on, we have matured as a membership, and so has this CSO platform. The CSO grouping has emerged as a formidable partner to our members, refining its engagement over the years to illicit more concrete outcomes and accountability from our Leaders.

• The value you bring to our organisation is immense:

- You continue to act as a bridge between our member governments, regional organisations, and the local communities we all serve;
- You amplify community voices and ensure that diverse perspectives are considered at the regional level; and
- You provide valuable knowledge and perspectives on a wide range of issues affecting our Pacific communities; to name, but a few.

• Pacific governments cannot achieve our Leaders’ vision on their own. For our governments to succeed, we will need the support and accountability that CSOs offer to strengthen our service delivery.

• At the same time, I fully recognise that the PIF is an inter-governmental organisation, and that CSOs are primarily non-governmental in nature. Ladies and gentlemen, through this distinction, too often are we seen as opposing camps.

• This perception, however, is misguided. We all share a vision for a resilient Pacific Region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, that ensures all Pacific peoples can lead free, healthy and productive lives.

• This vision will not be achieved without the express and genuine partnerships. And while we may not agree on everything, we share a common commitment to move our Blue Pacific forward.

• As they say, we are two sides of the same coin.


• Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud of the strength and the vibrance of CSOs in the Pacific. It is a testament to your leadership and devotion to ensure that people from all corners of society benefit from the vision our Leaders have for our Blue Pacific Continent.

• We look forward to working with you and supporting the outcomes from this meeting, to deliver a successful PIF Leaders meeting in Tonga. I wish you all the very best as you prepare.

• I thank you all very much. Vinaka