THE FOURTH NGO PARALLEL FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ

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The NGO Parallel Forum brought together representatives of community groups, churches and indigenous peoples organizations from around the Pacific, and was held between 14-17 August 1998, in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

The fourth NGO Parallel Forum included participants from the following countries and territories of the Pacific Islands and Pacific Rim: Federated States of Micronesia; Republic of the Marshall Islands; Guam; Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas; Ka Pae'aina (Hawaii); Papua New Guinea; Bougainville; Solomon Islands; Vanuatu; Republic of the Fiji Islands; Kingdom of Tonga; Cook Islands; Te Ao Maohi (French Polynesia); Aboriginal Australia; Australia; Aotearoa (New Zealand); East Timor; Philippines; First Nations Canada; Japan; United States of America.

The NGO Parallel Forum preceded the official South Pacific Forum Heads of Government meeting, which will be held between August 21-28 in Pohnpei. It was organized by the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC), and hosted at the Micronesian Seminar by the Federation of Non-Government Organizations in the FSM, and the FSM Women's Associations Network (FSMWAN). Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC)

NGO PARALLEL FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ August 14-17, 1998 Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Twenty years ago, the second Nuclear Free Pacific and Independent Pacific Movement Conference met in Pohnpei. This meeting in 1978 brought together representatives of community groups, churches and Indigenous peoples organizations from around the region. They discussed: the protection of our Pacific environment; developing our communities; respecting the right of self-determination for indigenous peoples; and struggles for independence by colonized Pacific peoples. Some of those representatives later became Prime Ministers, Heads of State and prominent community leaders in the region.

Twenty years on, non-government and community groups are meeting again in Pohnpei at the Fourth NGO Parallel Forum, to set forward our visions and concerns. The issues raised in 1978 are still on our agenda today.

Economic Development

The theme of this year's South Pacific Forum highlights economic issues. Economics should be about people. Economic development must work to support the things we value most: our land and waters, our health and education, our culture and values, our children's future.

In 1971, the first South Pacific Forum meeting of Pacific Heads of Government agreed on a vision of an integrated Pacific, which was based on common values unique to Pacific island countries. This vision was termed the Pacific Way'.

This vision has been confronted by the political and economic interests of Australia, New Zealand and other major economic powers, who have attempted to derail its realization. This was shown with the results of the July 1998 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM). The Forum's Economic Action Plan is based on narrow economic models which take little or no account of the central importance of systems of customary land tenure or the traditional "subsistence" economy for Pacific peoples. IMF Structural Adjustment Programs and the APEC Non-Binding Investment Principles are not a sound basis for Pacific island development.

Despite two decades of political independence, our economies are still based on the exploitation of our people, labor and natural resources, with no respect for traditional economies. We are being caught up in a fundamentally flawed model that takes little account of the diversity or strengths of island societies.

The current economic models endorsed in the FEMM communiqué represent a form of colonialism based on exploitation:

We therefore call upon Forum Island governments to revive their original vision of the Pacific Way.

Nuclear Free Pacific

We are totally committed to a Pacific that is free of all nuclear activities. We are strongly opposed to the trans-shipment of plutonium and high level nuclear waste through our Pacific Ocean, and ongoing threats to dump nuclear waste in our islands. There are many actions that can be taken:

Decolonization

As we move towards the end of the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, many Pacific peoples are still seeking the right to self determination, sovereignty and independence.

In the past, the South Pacific Forum actively supported colonized countries to gain their independence. Forum members must continue to take a leadership role in the decolonization of the region. We therefore state:

Human Rights

Despite 50 years of action since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the violation of human rights continues in East Timor, West Papua, Bougainville, and other countries in the Pacific.

There are other denials of fundamental rights in our region - the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples over their resources are under direct threat by bio-pirates, pharmaceutical companies, mining and logging companies and foreign fishing fleets. Therefore:

As participants to the Fourth NGO Parallel Forum, we thank our hosts in Pohnpei: the Federation of Non-Government Organizations, the FSM Women's Associations Network, and the Micronesian Seminar. We acknowledge the honor of the presence at our closing ceremony of the Governor of Pohnpei State, Governor Del Pangelinan. Provided by Richard Salvador.

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