The Chair of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Senior Officials Meeting (SOM), Michael Forrest, Permanent Secretary of the FLNKS External Unit officially opened the two-day MSG Senior Officials Meeting which ended yesterday at the MSG Secretariat in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Mr Forrest welcomed senior officials from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and the FLNKS Political Bureau who have gathered this week to discuss the MSG Secretariat’s Proposed 2015 Work Programme and Budget and also other key resourcing and corporate issues of the MSG organisation.
He particularly thanked members of the SOM for making the time to meet early this New Year 2015 to discuss the MSG 2015 Work Programme and Budget that was normally held at the end of the year 2014 but was deferred to January 2015 due to pressing commitments by the members and the successful recent elections for three key members.
Mr Forrest particularly highlighted the successful convening of the 5th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival in June 2014and also the MSG Trade Meetings and Trade Fair in November 2014 in Papua New Guinea which resulted in an increase on trade and economic collaborations and negotiations between members.
He urged members to deliberate on the important issues that will be raised by the Director General of the MSG on the Secretariat’s 2014 Activities report and also appealed to members to consider some of the pertinent issues such as the Update on Financial Report 2014 as well as the resourcing and revenue options of the MSG Secretariat as a way to boost the capacity of the Secretariat and to also enable the MSG Secretariat in becoming more sustainable.
The Chair of the MSG Senior Officials Meeting also reminded members of the coming 20th MSG Leaders’ Summit this year and urged members to embrace the key organization issues being tabled before the Senior Officials Meeting this week as a first step to implementing the MSG 2038 Prosperity Plan for All Plan.
In response to the Chair’s opening statement on Wednesday, the Deputy Director General of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Molean Kilepak said he equally joins Mr Forrest in emphasizing to members the need to deliberate on key issues of the secretariat in particularly the budget and work program for 2015.
Mr Kilepak said the Secretariat at this week’s meeting will also present to members the Secretariat’s resourcing initiatives such as revenue collection options and institutional strengthening and expansion project.
He said the SOM has a crucial role to play this week in the consideration of the budget and work program and confirmed that SOM recommendations will be presented to the Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) for final approval on Friday 23 January 2015.