November 11, 2016


Date: 11 November 2016

Suva – Umbrella national NGOs for Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu yesterday established an interim CSO Polynesian committee to build solidarity around common issues faced by the sub region.

Samoa Umbrella for NGOs (SUNGO), Cooks Islands Civil Society Organisation (CICSO), Civil Society Forum of Tonga (CSFT) and Tuvalu Association of NGOs (TANGO) leaders established the interim committee as an outcome of a meeting hosted by the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs in Suva yesterday.

CSFT representative and meeting facilitator, Emeline Siale Ilolahia said the establishment of the interim committee demonstrates the commitment of the Polynesian CSO leaders  to increase their contribution to Pacific sustainable development.

“There are officially 10 National Umbrella CSOs in our Polynesian Sub-Region and only 4 managed to be here but we are starting to formalise previous conversations and have begun unpacking some of the development dilemmas we face as Polynesians.”

Ilolahia said that at the same time they are looking for partnership opportunities to help shape and build development in the sub region as well as those faced by the Polynesian diaspora communities in other parts of the world.

The meeting which began on Wednesday was convened to allow Polynesian NGOs affiliated to PIANGO to explore, share, learn, reflect and discuss how they can reframe ‘CSO business as usual’ to adapt to the new sustainable development landscape.

“The global development context has changed and it has influenced development in our region particularly with the onset of the SAMOA Pathway and the Sustainable Development Goal,” Ilolahila said.

PIANGO is reviewing its structures in light of this global changes by strengthening sub-regional engagement platforms to encourage effective CSO participations in the broader Pacific development landscape. 

“The Global visions can only be achieved when it make sense to and is owned by the people on the ground so we talked about reframing CSO Engagement to fit the context and purpose of our region and how our sub-region links to that,” she said.

“We reflected on the respective country realities and capacity of CSOs to engage effectively with other development partners.”

“At the end of the two days meeting, we have managed to develop a plan of action for the group and with the support of PIANGO to make it a reality and impacted positively in improving the lives of our Pacific people.

PIANGO executive director, Emele Duituturaga welcomed the initiative saying that this is indicative of the recognition that Pacific civil societies are not aid recipients but are equal partners in development.

Meanwhile, a Pacific CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) Regional meeting started today at the Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

The meeting was opened by PIANGO chairman, Drew Havea and includes participants from non governmental organisations in Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Zealand, Niue, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga.