9 Aug 2004

New Zealand NGO unhappy with Forum communique

1:58 pm on 9 August 2004

A New Zealand non-governmental organisation is disappointed Pacific leaders didn't endorse its development priorities.

NGOs met in Samoa to hammer out their so-called Apia Statement, in the hope leaders would back their calls for urgent action.

In particular, leaders snubbed the NGOs' request to take up the cause of independence for the Indonesian province of Papua.

It's argued NGOs don't have the democratic mandate of governments, but Rae Julian of New Zealand's Council for International Development disagrees.

"Many of the NGOs present have been elected, to some extent. For example, people such as the umbrella groups from the various countries who were there - like my own. I mean we are representative of the NGO community, we are governed by the NGO community, and the board members are elected by the NGO community, so there is a certain element of choice in there."

Rae Julian of New Zealand's Council for International Development.