6 Aug 2004

Pacific leaders under pressure NGO as Forum kicks off

9:16 am on 6 August 2004

A Pacfic Islands civil society forum which held a three day meeting in Apia this week, has identified five elements its says should be added to the Pacific Plan to be discussed by the regions leaders at their summit which starts today.

Their Apia Statement has been given to the Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, and the NGOs hope it will be written into the summit's communique.

Don Wiseman reports from Apia:

"The elements are governance, which calls for the Forum and its member countries to more formally engage with civil society. The NGOs say security is multi-dimensional and will not be assured unless resources are protected and managed sustainably and the development needs of all the people are met."

They say there needs to be broad ranging discussion on the nature of economic development and have called for the PICTA/PACER trade deals three year review to be deferred until there is a full participatory and a transparent assessment of their actual and potential impacts.

They also called for a freeze on further free trade negotiations and accession to the WTO. On self determination the Apia Statement calls for the leaders to lobby the UN to have French Polynesia, Papua, Easter Islands and Hawaii reinscribed on the decolonisation list.

And on human rights they say that Pacific countries must ensure that their domestic laws are aligned with international human rights laws.