(18 August, 2017) Suva, Fiji − The disregard by North Korea and the United States for the lives and political autonomy of Guam’s Chamorro people is evidence of the continued geopolitics of colonisers, says the Pacific Islands Association of Non -Governmental Organisations (PIANGO).  

The organisation’s Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga made the comment today following a call this week by indigenous Chamorro groups for global solidarity and peace and the ceasing of hostilities between the US and North Korea.

“North Korea may have withdrawn its decision to launch a missile attack on Guam for the time being, however, the threat of an attack continues to exist. PIANGO and its members in 24 Pacific island countries and territories stand in solidarity with the people of Guam, as fellow people of Oceania, and sympathise with them because the imminent threat which they are now facing is not of their doing,” Ms Duituturaga said.

“This is a fight between North Korea and the colonisers of the indigenous Chamorro, the United States of America, but the insecurity, anxieties and impacts of this aggression will directly affect the Chamorro who simply want to live on their ancestral land in peace.”

The issue of self-determination and decolonisation were highlighted at a PIANGO Micronesian sub-regional meeting in Hagatna, Guam earlier this year.

“At this meeting in April, civil society organisations affiliated to PIANGO in Guam and the other North Pacific members flagged the increased US military presence on Guam as worrying.  This is clearly a contributing factor leading to the current situation and we call for solidarity from Pacific nations and all stakeholders to end increasing tensions between North Korea and the US,” Ms Duituturaga said.

“This, and the precarious situation of West Papua attests to the fact that decolonisation is unfinished business in the Pacific and continues   to threaten Pacific people’s rights to independence, peace, life and dignity.”

PIANGO had conveyed these concerns to the UN Decolonisation Committee as far back as 1996, along with calls to expedite the decolonisation of Guam, Kanaky and East Timor, however, to date, only East Timor is successfully transitioning to full independence.

“We are therefore urging the UN Decolonisation Committee to do all it can to expedite the decolonisation of Guam. In doing so, they could be averting what could be a catastrophic disaster for a people who have already lost so much,” Ms Duituturaga said.  (ENDS)

Contact:

Ms Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director, PIANGO  Email: emele@piango.net

Website:  http://www.piango.org/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Pacific2020/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Pacific_2030

PIANGO partnered with the University of the South Pacific (USP) to officially launch the logo at the USP in Suva, Fiji on 4 August, 2017.

Speaking at the launch, the USP’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Rajesh Chandra said: “The University of the South Pacific is indeed very pleased to be working with the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs and CIVICUS as we prepare to host International Civil Society Week 2017 at the university, in the first week of December.”

International Civil Society Week or ICSW, is a significant global gathering that is held every 18 months, bringing together civil society and other diverse stakeholders from all over the globe and providing them with a space to engage constructively in finding common solutions to global challenges.

“Bringing ICSW 2017 to the Pacific, for the first time in its history, is an important achievement for CSOs collectively, across the Pacific. It is indicative of the recognition and high regard held for the Pacific region and its peoples, by CSOs and development agencies and partners across the globe,” Professor Chandra said.

“Bringing ICSW to the Pacific represents a significant opportunity for Pacific civil society actors, organisations and development partners to engage and dialogue on a plethora of issues and pressing concerns that are unique to the Pacific region and to exchange ideas and strategies with counterparts outside our region.

“ICSW 2017 is themed “Our Planet, Our Struggles, Our Future.” This important theme is also very clearly represented in the ICSW logo which is being launched here today,” Professor Chandra said.

Explaining the significance of the ICSW 2017 logo he said: “The logo has several elements to it: The globe shows the Pacific ocean and the waves beneath it symbolise the links that Pacific people have to the ocean. The waves also symbolise the rising tides which are threatening the lives and homes of many of our Pacific island neighbours as climate change continues to become a grim reality for our region. The Fijian “masi” or barkcloth design at the base of the logo signifies the Fijian cultural identity and is placed strategically to illustrate grounding, links to mother earth and our foundation.”

PIANGO’s Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga said: “PIANGO has partnered with the international NGO CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, to organise International Civil Society Week 2017 in Suva. This will be a milestone in itself, as it will be the first time that a civil society event of this nature has been staged in the Pacific. And PIANGO is pleased and proud to be able to help showcase the Pacific to the rest of the world this year.

“The theme of this year’s ICSW will be “Our Planet, Our Struggles, Our Future” and we see this as being very pertinent to us as Pacific Island people and to our region as a whole.

“Climate change is at our doorstep. It has shown itself in various forms and is perhaps most evident in the rising tides which lap at the doorsteps and threaten the very existence of our Pacific brothers and sisters.

“Given the environmental considerations of holding an international event in Suva, we are working to make a contribution towards carbon-offsetting for each delegate attending the conference. We will apply a wide-range of planet friendly conferencing approaches – from locally sourcing food and materials, to ‘going paperless,” Ms Duituturaga said.

(June 28, 2017, Suva, Fiji) – The Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), in partnership with the CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the University of the South Pacific (USP) opened a joint secretariat office at the USP Students Association (USPSA) in Suva today.

The office will serve as a hub for planning and preparations towards International Civil Society Week 2017 (ICSW 2017) which will take place in Suva from 4-8 December, 2017.

ICSW 2017 is a significant event as it is the first time that the global gathering of civil society organisations will be taking place in the Pacific, hosted by CIVICUS member and Pacific regional partner PIANGO.

A team from CIVICUS headed by Amy Taylor, its Chief Networks Officer, are currently in the country on a scoping mission and to meet with the Fiji Government, development partners and key strategic partners.

“The CIVICUS board felt it was important as a global alliance to show solidarity with the Pacific especially at a time when climate change and sustainability is high on the region’s agenda. We are delighted to be working with PIANGO, the umbrella body for Pacific civil society, to host ICSW 2017, which is aptly themed “Our Planet, Our Struggles, Our Future,” Ms Taylor said.

PIANGO Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga said: “We are excited to be the hosts of the 14th ICSW, not only because of the international participants that are expected at the event but also because it is the first time for an ICSW to take place in the region.  We are also delighted to be partnering with the USP and to be able to secure the university’s Laucala campus to host the event – as well as having the secretariat office being housed at the USPSA,” she said.

“We are expecting up to 1,000 participants at ICSW2017 and with Fiji as host country, PIANGO’s local member the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) will have a special role to play to ensure the civil society community in Fiji are engaged.

The ICSW 2017 programme will address the following themes:

  • Our Planet: Our planet and its bio-diversity are under threat, and it is often excluded people that face the most severe and unjust consequences. Events in this track will explore how innovation and good practice are vital to realising environmental sustainability, the Paris Climate Agreement and Agenda 2030.
  • Our Struggles: A global crisis of democracy and a clampdown on people’s rights are affecting the progress of our social justice struggles. Events in this track will explore trends in civic space and political participation.
  • Our Future: Civil society is organising and responding to the crises facing us in powerful new ways to create the future we want. Events in this track will consider how we can support the next generation of leaders and build solidarity across diverse movements, mobilisations and initiatives. (ENDS)

Contact:

Ms Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director, PIANGO.  Email: emele@piango.net

(Suva, Fiji 21 June, 2017) – Investments by the Pacific Youth Council (PYC) in civil society leadership is one way that it can sustain the voices of youth in the Pacific development discourse, a roundtable meeting in Suva has been advised.

The comments were made by the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO) Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga during a panel discussion on PYC’s role in the Pacific development discourse at a PYC Partners Roundtable meeting this week.

Ms Duituturaga told PYC executives from Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia that PIANGO had begun developing a next generation leadership program in 2016 with the intention of ensuring sustainability of civil society efforts in the Pacific.

“PIANGO’s new strategic direction is Reshaping the Pacific We Want for Future Generations because we want to invest in the future and that means nurturing a leadership pipeline.

“Is PYC the pool from which we, as current baton holders, can pull from in this regard? Where are the young leaders that PYC has generated through its affiliates now? Are they in civil society?,”she asked.

Ms Duituturaga said civil society organisations themselves, like PIANGO, must undertake internal reflections to ascertain whether its structures were enabling and conducive to the effective participation of youth.

“This is important because civil society must continue to be the bedrock of democracy and social justice in the Pacific.

“Sustaining this is first and foremost a leadership issue – this is why PIANGO journeys with PYC and will increase its focus on next generation leaders,” she said. (ENDS)

Contact:

Vani Catanasiga, PIANGO.  Email: vani.vulaca@gmail.com

(June 9, 2017, New York) – Activists and representatives from prominent Pacific Island organisations, led by the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (PIANGO), are taking part in a high-profile side event at the United Nations (UN) Oceans Conference at UN Headquarters in New York today. PIANGO is the Pacific Organising Partner for the UN NGO Major Group at the Oceans Conference.

The panel discussion, aptly themed “Voices from the Blue Frontier,” focused on a more sustainable approach to the “Blue Economy” and shared community experiences from the world’s first experimental deep sea mining project “Solwara One” in Papua New Guinea (PNG), highlighting environmental threats and rights violations of indigenous resource owners and local communities through deep sea mining.

The panel is featuring prominent speakers such as the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Francois Martel; Executive Director of PIANGO, Emele Duituturaga; Human Rights Attorney, Julian Aguon; Sarah Thomas nededog, PNG Catholic Cardinal John Ribat and Fair Oceans Expert, Kai Kaschinski.

The side event is designed to provide a platform for engagement and knowledge sharing on the underlying science of seabed mining and to highlight the need for strong governance measures to ensure that appropriate social and environmental safeguards are in place to protect against projected adverse effects of seabed mining in the Pacific Ocean.

 “The United Nations Oceans Conference provides a further opportunity for multi-stakeholder participation and partnership building between governments, the private sector and civil society. This event is a demonstration of this inclusive approach and in particular, amplifies the voices of Pacific people, who have the greatest stake in the outcomes of the Oceans Conference,” Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director of PIANGO explained. 

“As Small Island Developing States, Pacific Island countries are particularly affected by these ocean developments. Our people rely largely on the ocean and marine resources for their livelihoods, while environmental pollution of oceans and climate change increasingly threaten existing economies.

“For many years, organisations of small-scale fishermen around the world have been fighting against ocean grabbing and the privatisation of fisheries resources. Deep sea mining is an example of such growth-oriented strategies and the unsustainable utilisation of marine resources. It disregards the rights of local communities and their livelihoods, and satisfies the resource needs of industrialised countries and emerging economies,” Ms Duituturaga said.

“Deep sea mining is not a strategy for sustainable development of Pacific Island countries. Deep sea mining and the negative impacts of climate change are based on the same failed model of development. Both threaten the health of the marine environment that is of such vital importance for Pacific Small Island Developing States. We have repeatedly reiterated that we need to rethink prevailing development models and approaches and reshape the Pacific we want.”

The Ocean Conference will result in a Call for Action that has been agreed to by countries http://bit.ly/2rzRT2q, and which will be formally adopted at the conclusion of the Conference. Additional outcomes include the results of seven partnership dialogues that will focus on solutions, and the voluntary commitments to action. (ENDS)

Contact:

Ms Emele Duituturaga, Executive Director, PIANGO  Email: emele@piango.net

Date: 2 March 2017

Guam – The Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) and Payuta Inc have established a Micronesian hub in Hagatna, Guam in partnership with Westcare Pacific Islands, a not for profit organisation on Guam.

Ribbon Cutting of Pacific Partnership Office

The hub called the Pacific Partnership Office, was officially opened last week by PIANGO executive director, Emele Duituturaga and Payuta Inc Vice Chair, Theresa Arriola and Westcare Foundation Chief Operating Officer, Maurice Lee.

“PIANGO is grateful to Payuta Inc – our Guam national liaison unit (NLU) who facilitated the connection to Westcare Foundation. Westcare has availed a structured space and office which we will be sharing with Payuta Inc. Westcare will also be recruiting a programme officer to operate from the hub.” Duituturaga said.

“For a while now, our NLUs in the Northern Pacific have been calling for support and connections with the rest of their Pacific family particularly as they juggle the demands of a changing world,” she said.

She said the establishment of the Pacific Partnership Office is an effort to build regional interconnectedness and to link national activities of CSOs to regional and international levels.

“This is a reminder that much of what we do at the regional and global levels do not directly impact on the work of CSOs out here unless we spend time with them to explain the connection.”

“The establishment of this office echoes the commitment that the PIANGO family has to unifying regional consciousness that should inspire Pacific leaders in all sectors.”

She said the representatives from Micronesian NLUs also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday 28th April and were inspired to build their own country hubs.  “Apart from influencing regional and international policy, PIANGO is also focused strengthening community engagement and CSO coordination from the bottom up”.

“Westcare Foundation, Payuta Inc and PIANGO will continue to look into fully resourcing the office so it’s positioned well to keep our NLUs in Micronesia, particularly those in the Northern Pacific involved in regional policy discourse,” Duituturaga said. 

ENDS

Date: 2 May 2017

Guam – A One Micronesia position is key to ensuring that the US adheres to its Paris agreement commitments and controlled military presence in the sub region.

This was part of a 16-points resolution reached at the 7th Payuta Inc Not for Profit Congress in Tumon, Guam on 26-27 April by civil society leaders from Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, Northern Marianas (CNMI) and Marshall Islands. The meeting was co-facilitated with the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO).

PIANGO executive director said PIANGO’s Micronesian NLUs have articulated their support for Pacific resilience in the face of environmental challenges; by vowing to build solidarity through a “One Micronesia” position.

“A highlight of the 7th Payuta Non Profit Congress Resolution is agreement of the CSO leaders to encourage a “One Micronesia” position for the US to adhere to its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and address concerns about its US military presence and the use of the Micronesian islands.”

Duituturaga said the CSO leaders also resolved to commit to increased Pacific CSO participation at the next climate change summit (Conference of the Parties 23) in Bonn, Germany.

“The resolutions also highlighted their aim to strengthen community resilience against climate change, including enacting appropriate legislations to ensure this.”

“I was heartened when they resolved to design consistent and entrenched education campaigns to empower Northern Pacific communities to re-think development issues that truly benefit their islands’ environment and secure a more sustainable future for their children.”

Duituturaga said there was also a strong representation of youth issues in the resolution which called for more youth participation in policy making and the development of youth center networks across the Pacific.

“There was also expressed support for dialogue processes on the decolonization of the mind particularly with the youth,” she said.

ENDS

Participants at PIANGO Micronesian Sub Regional Meeting in Guam

Date: 1 May 2017

Guam – A more systematic relationship with governments helps civil society to better promote accountability.

These sentiments were echoed by at the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs Micronesian Subregional meeting in Hagatna, Guam last week where more than 30 civil society leaders from the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Northern Marianas, and Marshall Islands had gathered to discuss sub regional development issues.

PIANGO executive director Emele Duituturaga who facilitated at the meeting said a lot of focus went into discussing the local level situation and the need to strengthen PIANGO national liaison units (NLUs).

“There is a greater appreciation of the need for effective coordination of CSOs at the state and national levels and for the NLUs to invigorate the efforts for CSOs to work together and to develop a systematic relationship with government,” Duituturaga said.

She said that while most were aware of the Agenda 2030 or SDGs, most if not all were struggling with how it is reported and monitored.

“There is general agreement that the Agenda 2030 or SDGs is important to monitor and they need to get organised to hold governments accountable for this,” she said.

She said as part of organising themselves, it was unanimously agreed that the PIANGO Code of Minimum Standards and accreditation would be a useful tool to strengthen their systems. Duituturaga said the fact that Guam already had an existing accreditation system was pleasing to note and that PIANGO will work with the Guam NLU, Payuta Inc to build on this.

“The meeting also discussed PIANGO’s organisational development matrix as a health check on organisational effectiveness,” she said.

Duituturaga said the two-days subregional meeting ended with each of the NLUs; FSM Alliance of NGOs(FANGO), Marianas Alliance of NGOs(MANGO), Payuta Inc and Marshall Islands Council of NGOs agreeing to a 5-points action plan. The main actions focused on SDG awareness, CSO mapping, Capacity strengthening including relations with government and Accountability standards.

ENDS

Date: 31 March 2017

SUVA – Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) will hold the Micronesia sub regional meeting as a build up to the 7th Non Profit Congress in Guam next month.

This was revealed in an official statement issued by the board of Payuta Incorporated yesterday to its members and to its regional umbrella body, PIANGO.

“The Payuta Board of Directors is pleased to announce the 7th Micronesian Non Profit Congress to be held on Guam from April 26-27, 2017,” the board said in the statement.

“We are also planning for our traditional Policy Forum and the formal meeting of the Pacific Coalition of NGO Leaders on Friday, April 28th.”

“The Pacific Islands Association of NGOs will hold Micronesian Subregional Meetings prior to the congress on Monday, April 24 and Tuesday, April 25. These sessions will be hosted by Payuta member organizations ICAN and Sanctuary, Inc.” 

The board said the congress with the theme, By Us, For Us, Within Us, will focus on strategies that will lead their consumers, communities, and the various sectors and pacific island jurisdictions to the “table” to discuss how they can better themselves. 

“The “onus” is on us and the “ownness” is within us.  These concepts imply rights and responsibilities and a oneness with ourselves.”

The statement said presentations will be made that will evoke the ideas of responsibility and perhaps even an obligation of families, community organizations, policy makers and advocates to assert their interests towards progress and change. 

Payuta Inc board chair, Sarah Thomas-Nededog who also serves as chair of the PIANGO board said they expect to have 100 local, regional and national participants as presenters and attendees. 

“The 7th Nonprofit Congress will bring together approximately 100 key individuals from Guam and the region representing the nonprofit, business and governmental sectors to explore policy and practices around key societal issues facing Guam and the larger Micronesian region,” Thomas-Nededog said.

“As in our 6 previous conferences, this event is followed by a policy forum when we submit our adopted resolutions to our local and regional policy makers inviting them to partner with us in addressing issues identified at the congress.”

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact PIANGO Communications: Email- communications@piango.org or phone: (679) 3300060

Facebook: facebook.com/Pacific2020   Twitter: @Pacific_2030

Date: 20 March 2017

Suva – The Pacific Islands Association of NGOs will host a global gathering of civil society organisations in Suva on 4-7 December this year as part of International Civil Society Week (ICSW)

PIANGO executive director, Emele Duituturaga said she was delighted to receive official notification as well as a video of the announcement of PIANGO’s successful hosting by CIVICUS secretary general, Dr Danny Sriskandarajah.

“PIANGO and its 24 affiliates in Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia are excited to be the hosts of the 14th ICSW not only because of the international participants that are expected at the event but also because it is the first time for an ICSW to take place in the region,” Duituturaga said.

“With Fiji as host country, PIANGO’s member the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) will have a special role to play to ensure the civil society community in Fiji are engaged.”

“We are expecting over 1,000 participants, based on 900 participants from more than a hundred countries at last year’s ICSW held in Bogota, Columbia so this is going to be a huge undertaking for PIANGO and its regional affiliates.”

“PIANGO had begun scoping work for the hosting of the weeklong event last year particularly in securing a venue large enough to cater for the numbers we are expecting. We are delighted to be able to secure the USP Laucala campus for this” she said.

Duituturaga said the PIANGO Council meeting held in December last year in Suva had endorsed the hosting of the event. 

CIVICUS Secretary General Dr Danny, at PIANGO Council meeting 2016

“This means the full support of PIANGO’s affiliates or national liaison units in 24 Pacific countries is behind this initiative. We expect to see PIANGO members front the effort to host their colleagues from other regions in true Pacific style.”

In a video announcement posted on CIVICUS youtube channel, Dr Sriskandarajah said the CIVICUS board felt it was important as a global alliance to show solidarity with the Pacific especially at a time when climate change and sustainability is high on the region’s agenda.

“We are delighted to be working with PIANGO, the umbrella body for the Pacific civil society to host the event (ICSW 2017) themed, “Our Planet, Our Struggles, Our future,” he said in the video statement released last week.

The event objectives are to:

  1. Connectthe different sources and forces of citizen action, empowering civil society to be more robust and effective, ensuring diversity and multi-stakeholder engagement, and encouraging both formal and informal networking.
  2. Sharetools and experiences for enhancing citizen action, facilitating capacity building trainings and activities, amplifying citizen voices through social media and technology, and building awareness of the importance of a vibrant civic space, with the special focus on how to enhance national and global monitoring and accountability.
  3. Celebratethe power of innovation to affect social change, enhancing citizen participation and promoting sustainability, highlighting innovative leaders and stories of change.

ICSW events follow a different approach to conferencing according to CIVICUS.

“It celebrates innovation and relies on multiple partnerships with local, international, and multi-sectoral organisations who pool their resources together to convene a diverse international group of leaders in civil society issues,” a statement on the CIVICUS website outlined.

ENDS