29 Oct 2003

Naming of Eminent Persons group to review Forum still some weeks away

4:41 pm on 29 October 2003

The New Zealand Government says it is close to finalising an Eminent Persons group which will conduct a review of how the Pacific islands Forum's Secretariat operates.

The Forum leaders agreed at their summit in Auckland in August that the Secretariat needed to be overhauled to make it a more effective body.

Forum members were invited to nominate candidates and New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff says a number of countries have put people forward.

He says they are waiting for those nominees to confirm their availability.

Mr Goff says the plan now is to include a second group in the review process.

"'there will be the group set up that will do the work on the ground and we are hoping to have a meeting with that group in New Zealand in due course, with a further group of people that will act as a reflective group to consider what has been recommended and to have some input - they also will be key people from within the region"

Phil Goff says a public release of the make up of the Eminent Persons group and the terms of reference is expected within weeks.