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The Pacific Islands Development Forum has reminded the inaugural regional conference for the French Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) of the Pacific that met in Papeete, French Polynesia on 25 and 26 November 2014 to review European Union aid to the Pacific that discussions on development assistance to the Pacific needs to be more inclusive and participatory.

Speaking in Papeete during the meeting the PIDF Secretariat stated:

“The challenges facing the Pacific today are complex and interrelated. The public sector accepts that they do not have the monopoly or exclusive responsibility over sustainable development but a shared responsibility with other key stakeholders. What we require is the commitment and genuine involvement of all social groups and broad public participation in decision making especially at the regional level.”
“We cannot simply consult our people and exclude them from the decision making space has was the practice in the past. We need to empower the People of the Pacific as primary stakeholders in their development to initiate the process and make joint decisions about its outcome; we need to give value to voices never heard at this level of decision making in the Pacific.”

The meeting in Papeete is the first time that the Heads of Government and/or Territorial Authorising Officers from the four Pacific OCTs as well as National Authorising Officers of fifteen Pacific ACP countries, representatives of Member States to which the Pacific OCTs are linked, regional organisations and the European Investment Bank are meeting together to discuss actions aimed at enhancing cooperation between actors in this region and identify priorities for action that could receive financial support from the European Union.
The conference aims to define the priorities for the Pacific OCTs regional programme in synergy with the priorities of the ACP countries in the region; but also to contribute to the process of consultation and dialogue between different actors.
The PIDF is also scheduled to meet the President of French Polynesia Édouard Fritch and other private sector and civil society leaders of French Polynesia in Papeete tomorrow Thursday 27th November 2014.

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PIDF Staff Member Peni Lomaloma speaking in Papeete    

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  Conference participants with French Polynesia President Fritch at the Presidential Palace last night