Outgoing Forum chair wants Pacific speaking with one voice

The outgoing chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the president of the Federated States of Micronesia, Peter Christian, says it is critical the agency speak with one voice on regional issues.

Samoa takes over the chairmanship of the Forum at the 48th Forum summit in Apia early next month.

But Mr Christian will still be an integral part of the organisation, becoming one of the Forum Troika Leaders, made up of past, present and incoming Forum chairs.

At a recent meeting with the Forum secretary general, Dame Meg Taylor, Mr Christian spoke of the socio-economic and related development issues facing the region.

A critical matter for him is air transport, which has long been seen as a barrier to island nations' attempts to strengthen their economies.

Samoa's prime minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi will take over as chair in Apia, where Samoa's chosen theme for the summit is "the Blue Pacific: Our Sea of Islands - Our Security through Sustainable Development, Management and Conservation"

Dame Meg said the Blue Pacific emphasised the region's common identity based on Pacific people belonging to one ocean continent.

"In accepting this collective identity, it emphasises how we utilise and conserve resources for the benefit of our people."



Photo: AFP President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Peter Christian.