The Private Sector Dialogue (P.S.D.) was held in Apia, Samoa last week to coincide with the 48th Annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ conference.
Thirty-eight delegates attended the dialogue representing the private sector of the Pacific Island Countries making up the Pacific Forum. Howard Politini, Chairman of the Pacific Island Private sector Organisation (P.I.P.S.O.) chaired the Dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat’s Glynis Miller and Shiu Raj as secretaries.
New Zealand was represented by Peter Kiely, Chairman of Pacific Chairs and Paul Pledge, General Manager of Tradestaff Global, both nominated by the New Zealand Pacific Business Council.
The morning session was primarily around rehearsing the Private Sector Dialogue presentation at the leaders meeting for the following day with more substantial regular matters to be discussed in the afternoon sessions.
The first session was led by Mr Raj and focused on financing mechanisms for the private sector followed by S.P.R.E.P. (South Pacific Regional Environment Programme), the Green Climate Fund (G.C.F.) and the Green Energy Fund (G.E.F.). The final session was on the harmonisation of business processes led by Mr Kiely, who gave a regional update.
A Private Sector Steering Committee was elected at the meeting, as agreed at the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (F.E.M.M.) held in Suva earlier in the year. The elected committee of seven included Mr Pledge from New Zealand.
The Private Sector Dialogue with the Forum Island Country leaders was held the next day as part of the leaders’ engagement programme. Key issues were discussed around this year’s theme which was Blue Pacific – Ocean of Commerce, Challenges and Opportunities.
A new format which was based on two speakers from the Private Sector Dialogue and two from the leaders and an open dialogue between one nominated member from the Pacific Island Countries’ private sector and the attending leaders covered diverse topics of importance to business.
The leaders widely acknowledged the Private Sector Dialogue papers as “first class” and members of the private sector said they felt better informed after attending the dialogue. The group thanked Fredrick Kamusiime of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for his efforts at organising the exercise.