4 Mar 2013

Pacific plan needs commitment from leaders - academic

11:27 am on 4 March 2013

An academic says the Pacific Plan for regional integration could achieve huge benefits for Pacific countries, but there has to be buy in from the island nations.

A former economics advisor to the Forum, Dr Roman Grynberg, who was involved in developing the Plan, says it has failed so far to achieve its aims because it was imposed from the outside and has been ignored by island leaders.

A team is reviewing the Plan and its head, Papua New Guinea's Sir Mekere Morauta also says there has to be a greater sense of ownership within the island countries.

Dr Grynberg says the potential gains under a properly instituted Plan are enormous.

He says one mooted right at the start was a regional customs service.

"Something that eliminates the potential for importers to collude together with some - I am not saying all, but some - corrupt customs officials, a regional mechanism with proper policing and proper access to cost information, that would do an enormous amount to decrease the need for Pacific Islands to ask for aid."