The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their Retreat in Peleliu State, Palau on 31st July announced Dame Meg Taylor, DBE, as the next Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, making history as the first woman to be selected to hold the office of Secretary General.
Dame Taylor, currently serving as a senior official at the World Bank, brings over 20 years of experience working in the region and internationally, including serving as PNG’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The Chair of the 45th Pacific Islands Forum, H.E. President Remengesau Jr., welcomed Dame Taylor’s selection saying, “This is an important and historical decision for the premier political organisation in the region. I am sure that Dame Taylor will lead a successful Forum Secretariat into the future.”
“Forum Leaders also expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude to the outgoing Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade for his significant and valuable contribution to strengthening the region during his six years in office. Leaders particularly acknowledged the Secretary General’s contribution during very challenging times.”
Pacific Leaders rallied to support Palau’s theme for the 45th Forum and endorsed the Palau Declaration “The Ocean: Life & Future” Charting a Course to Sustainability.
Forum Leaders endorsed the Framework for Pacific Regionalism which will improve priority setting and support a real focus on initiatives that can make a significant difference to the region.
In acknowledging their central stewardship role in Pacific Ocean governance and sustainable development, Leaders agreed that the Palau Declaration will be actively promoted and provide impetus to the SIDS Conference, UNSG 2014 Climate Summit, UNGA69 and in the Post-2015 Development Agenda to highlight the importance of the Pacific Ocean to economies, societies, culture and environmental integrity.
Speaking earlier at a press conference, the Secretary General, Mr. Slade, said, “On the issue of Fiji, Leaders requested that the Ministerial Contact Group (MCG) make a recommendation to Leaders following the election in Fiji regarding Fiji’s re-admission to the Forum, based on assessment of the report of the Multinational Observer Group and any other factors the MCG wishes to take into account.”
Leaders admitted Tokelau as an Associate Member and extended an invitation to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to become an Observer in the Forum. Turkey and Spain were also included as members of the Post-Forum Dialogue Partnership.
The Pacific Leaders announced that Papua New Guinea will host the 46th Pacific Islands Leaders Forum in 2015.
Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo had been pushing for the Solomon Islands candidate Jimmy Rodgers but failed to push him through.
Meanwhile the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) congratulates Dame Meg Taylor on her election as the next Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
“Dame Meg brings impressive credentials and experience to this role and SPC looks forward to working closely with her and her team to strengthen the partnership between the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum.
SPC Director-General Dr Colin Tukuitonga stated: “SPC and the Forum are sister organisations in the Pacific, working for the good of our member countries and their people.
“Greater coordination and closer engagement between the two organisations can only be for the benefit the region as a whole, and I very much look forward to working closely with Dame Meg.
“I am convinced that, together, we can create a powerful platform for projecting the development challenges of Pacific Island countries and territories onto the international stage and ensuring they are addressed in a pragmatic and sustainable manner.”