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.
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.
Bangkok Unity Statement is the document which was the outcome from the Istanbul +7 Forum which took place in Bangkok, Thailand , on 30 – 31 March 2017.
PIANGO Executive Director, Emele Duituturaga, has a message on ” Walking the talk: Civil Society as accountable development actors” .
By – Vani Catanasiga, Research and Development Officer
Date: 28 February 2017
What really is the big fuss about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
This, and the question of its connection to putting food on the table are probably foremost on the minds of ordinary Pacific islanders when development stakeholders talk SDGs.
At least these are typical queries raised to the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) since it began its campaign to educate its 24 affiliates, aptly called the national liaison units on this new global agenda in 2016.
At this point, it might be important to stress that these are not necessarily PIANGO-developed goals. These were developed and agreed to by heads of states and governments in 2015 after its attempts for “collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level” through the Millennium Development Goals, fell short.
Sustainability Goals Underscore Pacific Input
Drawing from the shortcomings of the MDGs, which generally focused on economic growth and social inclusion, the SDGs or otherwise known as Agenda 2030, attempts to address hurdles to Sustainable Development with the additional emphasis on environmental sustainability.
Unlike the MDGs, the SDGs require “shared action” which means that these goals can only be achieved by 2030 if implementation is carried out by “all countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership.” This not only places the responsibility of its achievements in the hands of our governments but on civil society, private sector, community groups and individuals as well.
With three of the 17 Goals solely dedicated to the protection of the environment and a specific goal on climate change, the region’s role in this global campaign cannot be emphasised enough. The Pacific is after all the global “poster child of climate change” with a few of our leaders recognised as global advocates for communities across the region facing the inevitable loss of their homes, heritage and livelihoods.
The Fijian Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama’s chairmanship of the United Nation’s biggest climate change meeting in Europe, the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in October this year, is a case in point.
Another high level international event and UN Conference that’s SDG-related and is expected to have some focus on the Pacific is the upcoming Oceans Conference. The conference aims to foster the implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Even more encouraging is the fact that Fiji’s Speaker of the Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni is an SDG Champion and has actively advocated on SDG 16 which promotes, peace, justice and strong institutions since 2016. Initial joint action with the Fiji Council of Social Services contributed.
Samoa as a Pacific Example
While the SDG’s 13 (climate), 14 (Oceans), 15 (Terrestrial) are probably the goals that the Pacific may be more visibly engaged with, these are not the only ones on which development stakeholders have concentrated on. Infact, the government of Samoa was amongst the 22 countries that participated in the 2016 UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) National Voluntary Review session, scrutinising national efforts for the achievement of the 17 goals.
In doing so, Samoa demonstrated the existence of political will as well as Pacific initiative to link existing country mechanisms for sustainable development to emerging global agendas. But there is still room for improvement according to the Samoa Umbrella for Non Governmental Organisations’ Roina Vavatau.
Vavatau represented Samoa civil society at the HLPF Action for Sustainable Development-facilitated side event in New York, US, alongside PIANGO’s Alanieta Vakatale and raised the need a more robust mechanism that fosters meaningful partnerships with private sector and CSOs
“CSOs want to be consulted not just informed after government has decided,” she said at the meeting.
Coordination is Key, Not Capacity
Worries that Pacific societies lack the appropriate systems in place to ensure that attempts to fulfil the goals are met, are misplaced. The SDGs, if approached correctly, would be an opportunity for governments to rediscover the gems inherent in Pacific indigenous cultures and traditions.
Gems like “social safety nets” in indigenous cultures of Pacific people, traditional conservation methods and sustainable approaches to economic development. Tapping on these “gems” are part of a move by Pacific CSOs to rethink and redefine development approaches in the region.
PIANGO executive director, Emele Duituturaga says based on the initial 2016 campaign, once ordinary Pacific islanders understand what the SDG frames, work will no longer focus on the relevance of the goals.
“What we firmly believe as PIANGO is that, it will not be about relevance nor capacity because we have demonstrated that we have existing mechanisms in formal governments as well as traditional governance. It will come down to coordination – our ability to coordinate our implementation and actions on the 17 Goals across sectors.”
The CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) is an open platform that unites CSOs from around the world on the issue of development effectiveness. The framework for CPDE was developed in Nairobi, Kenya from December 8th – 9th 2012 where 50 civil society leaders and representatives, including representatives from PIANGO – met to outline the issues and define a common vision, goals and objectives. Participants represented all regions of the world – Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East and Africa including sub-regions, as well as different sectors of society. The roadmap for CPDE was documented in the Nairobi Declaration for Development Effectiveness
Between the years 2009 to September 2010, PIANGO engaged in the dialogue surrounding development effectiveness – leading to the formulation of the Istanbul principles for CSO Development effectiveness in September 2010. The Istanbul Principles for CSO Development Effectiveness include:
- Respect and Promote Human Rights and Social Justice;
- Embody Gender Equality and Equity while Promoting Women’s & Girls Rights;
- Focus on People’s Empowerment, Democratic Ownership and Participation;
- Promote Environmental Sustainability;
- Practice Transparency and Accountability;
- Pursue Equitable Partnerships and Solidarity;
- Create and Share Knowledge & Commit to Mutual Learning; and
- Commit to Realizing Positive Sustainable Change.
PIANGO continued its in-depth involvement within the CPDE from Istanbul till the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea between 29th November – 1st December 2011, where government leaders recognised that civil society organisations play a vital role in enabling people to claim their rights, in promoting rights based approaches, in shaping development policies & partnerships and in overseeing their implementation. Civil society has been recognised as development actors in their own right.
The CPDEs area of work include the following:
- Continuous monitoring & advocacy on the Global Aid & Development Effectiveness Agenda, ensuring alignment with the Human-Rights Based Approaches, CSO Key Asks and agreements in Busan;
- Promoting an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organisations; and
- Building CSO Development and Effectiveness through the implementation of Istanbul Principles and International Framework
As of March 2015, PIANGO through years of lobbying at the CPDE Global Coordination Council and through its various focal persons – managed to secure the separation of the Pacific from the traditional regional classification of Asia-Pacific. As of 2015, the Pacific region is now recognised as a stand-alone region with PIANGO serving as its Secretariat. Work within the Pacific CPDE accordingly is divided up among the 3 Pacific sub-regional groupings of Melanesian, Polynesia and Micronesia in addition to sectoral group interests as follows: