2 Apr 2004

Hopes that revamped Forum will be more inclusive

10:24 am on 2 April 2004

One of the contributors to the review of the Pacific Islands Forum hopes the region's leaders will next week agree to make the body more inclusive.

Representatives from 15 of the 16 Forum members will meet for several hours next Tuesday at Auckland's Government House to consider 32 recommendations for a revamp of the Forum.

The recommendations suggest a broader role for the Forum, with it at the hub of greater regional integration and co-operation.

Rae Julian, the executive director of the Council for International Development, sat on a reflections group which assessed a report from the Eminent Persons Team charged with drawing up a new mandate for the Forum.

She says if the body is revamped it must include civil society groups in the decision making process.

Rae Julian says the Forum should be fully representative of all the people's of the Pacific, including states currently in limbo, such as Papua and New Caledonia.

"So we would like to see the people from there having a voice as well. But we would also like to see there being opportunities for civil society to have input in any decisions that affect their own lives."