2 Jul 2019

New Pacific civil society head wants to redefine sector's decision making

7:40 am on 2 July 2019

The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations has appointed long time Tongan civil society leader, Emeline Siale Ilolahia, as its new executive director.

'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia

Executive Director of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga, 'Emeline Siale 'Ilolahia. Photo: RNZ/Koro Vaka'uta

Prior to joining the organisation Ms Ilolahia was the head of the Civil Society Forum of Tonga.

She replaces Emele Duituturaga in the role.

Ms Ilolahia said although there have been some improvements in political and private sector recognition of civil society in the Pacific, most development and policy decisions are still made without civil society input.

This is particularly worrying when economic development is being pursued without proper consideration of indigenous and human rights, she said.

"Some of the investments of corporate companies are coming to our region are interested in natural resources and a lot of the time the consent of indigneous communities are not being sought out. So those are the things that we need to bring into light," Emeline Siale Ilolahia said.