4 Nov 2003

Group reviewing Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to consult widely

11:44 am on 4 November 2003

An Eminent Persons Group, which this month will review the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is being directed to consult widely in the exercise.

New Zealand chairs the Forum and announced the make up of the Group yesterday.

It includes a former President of Kiribati, Teburoro Tito, a former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Julius Chan, Samoa's Ombudsman, Maiava Iulai Toma, the Pro Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, Dr Langi Kavuliku and retired Australian diplomat, Bob Cotton.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff says the review is useful because of the considerable changes in the Pacific since the last review eight years ago.

He says the Group will consult with governments, civil society and people with specialist expertise.

"and they will in turn, look at the Forum Secretariat and says 'are the meetings that we are holding the most appropriate to set our priorities, to determine where we want to go? What are the strenths and weaknesses of the Secretariat? How can we enhance the way in which we interact with ordinary people and civil society?"