Pacific Parliamentary Forum ends with pledge to address Regional Issues

Pacific Parliamentarian leaders are undertaking to pursue further actions to address challenges facing Pacific Island regions.

Forum members wrapped up four days of talks Monday calling “ for the promotion of effective leadership and creative engagement between parliaments and the communities they represent”.

John Hayes, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, says “The Forum was focused on inviting younger and new leaders and giving them the opportunity to debate topics of relevance to the Pacific. The fact that delegates have adopted strong recommendations shows the worth of this Forum.

“Most pleasing for the Select Committee was the willingness of all delegates to debate the issues, and provide their insights into such issues as regional leadership, democracy, climate change, health issues, and gender equality,” said Mr Hayes.

Leaders end the forum with key recommendation for each Pacific parliament to follow such as toTake steps to increase Pacific women’s representation in Parliaments and to empower them to be active in all aspects of society, including governance and business.

“Adopt strategies to meet the challenges arising from climate change, involving urgent and effective action in mitigation, adaptation and financing including placing a higher reliance on renewable energy.

“Foster a free, professional and independent media to promote democracy and an open and transparent society. Media has and continues to have an important role to play in ensuring political accountability. Participants remarked on the rise of social media in the Pacific and its utility as a communication tool, particularly in remote communities.

“Promote effective leadership and creative engagement between parliaments and the communities they represent.

“Explore ways to improve the delivery and creation of services in small, isolated communities, including through better infrastructure and information technology.

“Prioritise primary healthcare, health promotion and disease prevention. Work to educate their communities on the importance of healthy lifestyles and to raise awareness about reproductive and sexual health. Ensure cost effectiveness and good management to sustain affordability of healthcare.

“Improve and promote economic conditions to facilitate trade and investment in a manner that ensures sustainable development in the interests of the Pacific while still retaining cultural identity and sovereignty.

Acknowledge that sound governance from our Parliaments is essential to expand sustainable businesses and to create jobs, especially for young people”.

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