8 Sep 2016

Samoa PM supports civil society voice at the Forum

3:55 pm on 8 September 2016

The Prime Minister of Samoa has made a commitment to seek a larger and more permanent space for civil society voices at the Pacific Islands Forum.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made the pledge this morning to civil society heads at their official breakfast meeting with the Forum Troika, leaders who are past, present and future chairs.

Samoa PM, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi

Samoa PM, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The executive director of the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs says she was pleasantly surprised at the support and consensus from leaders at the breakfast.

Emele Duituturaga said having a permanent civil society space for engagement with the Forum would be beneficial for the region as a whole.

She said Tuilaepa had said he would push for a space for all 16 Forum leaders and not just the Forum chairpersons, to meet with civil society and listen to what they have to say.

"You know often they have an agenda set the items are put before them the atmosphere is very sterile. I think they just found the directness the robustness and hearing the diversity of issues being brought to them made them responsive and also say that this was an essential part of the meetings that they should be having."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs