1 Apr 2004

Former PNG PM calls for fresh look at Pacific

3:42 pm on 1 April 2004

A former Papua New Guinea prime minister says it is time to take a fresh look at how the region can unify to tackle crime and health issues.

Sir Julius Chan, who is a co-author of an unpublished report about the workings of the Pacific Islands Forum, says the world was now looking at the Pacific as a region of problems.

The report is expected to call for greater regional integration on issues such as trade, a common currency, a Pacific-wide parliament and a preferential trade network.

Sir Julius was speaking ahead of a meeting in Auckland next week in which Pacific leaders are expected to consider whether they should join forces in a European-style group.

He says the Forum has been successful for over 30-something years now and it's time to refresh that mandate to take account of the world-imposed problems and how we're going to face those challenges.

He says for many, many years now, the Pacific has been regarded as isolated, (that) it will be immune to all the problems.

Sir Julius says that view is not realistic.