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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Forum Secretariat Secretary General expresses satisfaction at time in office

The outgoing Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Greg Urwin has expressed overall satisfaction in his time in the top regional position.

In a message read out at the opening of the pre-Forum session of the Forum Officials Committee (FOC), the governing council of the Secretariat, in Suva, Fiji today, Mr Urwin said: “I would be completely in error not to say that my time in Suva as Secretary General has been a period of enormous satisfaction overall, one for which I can only express my thanks to all of those who made it possible.”

Mr Urwin, who is currently recovering in Australia from illness, has indicated to Forum Leaders his intention to resign from the position of Forum Secretary General after serving four years in the position.

He said for more than thirty years he has had the privilege of working in and through the region.

“That work has taken on a range of issues, much it has been rewarding, some of it has not, as time progressed, more complex and perhaps somewhat having a little less of that joyous quality which our work seemed to first possess.”

Mr Urwin described as critical the establishment of the Pacific Plan and the very broad range of activities the Plan encompasses to the setting up of the Regional Institutional Framework.

“Critical in my absolute view to the business of showing all of our regional organizations to work most effectively and concertedly with each other rather than continue to be prone to pull against one another, something which, despite a good deal of effort on our own part, we remain something of a captive to.”

He said he hoped the establishment of programmes aimed at the direct benefit of those Forum members with the clearest and most specific needs such as the Smaller Island States be further and rapidly developed.

“It has also included in a very integral way, the complex, far-reaching work we have been doing in the area of trade relations, of fisheries, as regards the EU but also as regards PICTA and further down the track the whole issue of PACER. The PACER/PICTA issues, important in themselves will again have, it seems to me, a direct reinforcing effort on the whole effort we are making to strengthen our regional integration.”

The Forum Secretary General also spoke of the critical role the Forum has played in security and political issues including the situation in Fiji, the Regional Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands, election observations and the role these developments have had on the Forum itself.

“Let me conclude by thanking you, the FOC members and the Forum Secretariat for all you’ve done in the service of our wonderful region – it has been an honour and a privilege to work with you all. Let us take this work forward together,” said Mr Urwin

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders will appoint a new Forum Secretary General at their 39th meeting to be held in Niue 19 – 21 August.

Source: PIFS

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