As Chair of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum, the Republic of Nauru initiated the partnership in collaboration with The University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC).
The President of Nauru, Baron Waqa, led representatives from civil society, Pacific Island governments and the private sector in signing a ceremonial tapa scroll confirming their commitment to skills development for a sustainable region.
He described the Pacific Skills Partnership as a region-led vehicle for collaborating on skills-based, tangible outcomes for Pacific people and communities, in alignment with the Pacific Regional Education Framework and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
“My vision for the partnership is to inspire and facilitate new and practical approaches to strengthening skills, jobs and growth across the region in an integrated way that benefits individuals and nations while strengthening regional sustainability,” President Waqa said.
He acknowledged Pacific nations’ progress in strengthening workforce skills, maintaining that much more can be achieved together.
Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, said the partnership is an important step towards a stronger Pacific and commended the Republic of Nauru for the initiative.
“A more coordinated and scaled up effort is needed to secure the skills for a sustainable and prosperous future - Australia is committed to helping achieve this goal,” she said.
The Pacific Skills Partnership will focus on a series of regional skills development activities, including a Pacific Skills Summit. The partnership also commits to seeking out new alliances and investments for essential skills.
“We congratulate the Government of Nauru for this excellent Pacific-led initiative. USP is excited to be part of this partnership as the region’s leading regional human resource development institution, which has been skilling and building capacity in the Pacific for last 50 years,” said Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP.
Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) member and President of the Fiji Commerce and Employers Federation (FCEF), Mr Sandeep Chauhan, said, “PIPSO is excited to partner as a means of providing greater opportunities for our members, the Pacific private sector, to engage more in the TVET agenda.”
Vice Chair of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), Mr Keu Mataroa, added, “This partnership can and must be one that is inclusive, so that our communities can rise to the challenges of today and tomorrow while respecting and upholding the rights of all.”
President Waqa closed his remarks by encouraging organisations and stakeholders to join the Pacific Skills Partnership and “to turn Pacific challenges into Pacific opportunities” through skills development.
Founding signatories included: The President of the Republic of Nauru, His Excellency Baron Waqa; Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Rajesh Chandra; Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Honourable Marise Payne; PIPSO member and President of FCEF, Mr Sandeep Chauhan; and Vice-Chair of PIANGO, Mr Keu Mataroa.