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Monday, May 29, 2006

Consultant team to look at merger of Regional Bodies

A four member team has been appointed to consult member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum on a proposed regional institutional framework, which includes a suggestion to merge five regional agencies into a Pacific Commission.

Three members have been appointed – the former New Zealand diplomat, Adrian Simcock, former director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Lourdes Pangelinan and senior Kiribati bureaucrat, Makurita Baairo.

The search is on for a group leader after Kaliopate Tavola, was re-appointed as Fiji's foreign affairs and external trade minister last week.

An official from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said that Mr Tavola had agreed in principle to head the review team and was just about to sign his contract when he was recalled to join the Fiji cabinet.

The group will consider some of the recommendations made by Australian consultant based in Solomon Islands, Tony Hughes in his report, “Strengthening Regional Management: a Review of the Architecture for Regional Co-operation in the Pacific.”

Hughes in his report has recommended the merging of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, South Pacific Geoscience Commission, South Pacific Environment Programme and the Forum Fisheries Agency.

He said the five regional organisations, would merge into what will eventually be called the Pacific Commission.

The team will have a month to work on a report to be submitted to Leaders at their annual summit in Tonga in October.

News source: SIBC Online (http://www.sibconline.com.sb/main.asp)

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