SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT

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Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT September 10, 1998

SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT FINALIZING NEW WORK PROGRAM

The South Pacific Forum Secretariat is finalizing a new work program for the three years 1999-2001 incorporating directives from Forum Leaders, following last month's 29th South Pacific Forum meeting in Palikir, Federated States of Micronesia.

This involves consultations with member states and relevant regional organizations on the most effective ways of implementing decisions outlined in the 1998 Forum Communiqué, the main guideline for the Secretariat's activities.

Among the decisions was the need for Forum governments to implement economic reform programs through greater private sector participation as well as the promotion of key sectors such as tourism, education, fisheries, environment, transport, private sector development and the financial sector.

"These are some of the areas that our members have outlined as being very important for social and economic development in the region," said Mr. Tony Slatyer, Acting Secretary General of the South Pacific Forum Secretariat.

"There is a wide range of support programs that the Secretariat will be actively pursuing with the resources we have available, and which both the Secretariat and the donor community will be helping to implement.

"In addition, there are a number of important regional and international meetings affecting the region in which the Forum has an interest and the Secretariat will support participating members.

"They include the climate change convention in November in Argentina; consultations this month with the European Commission on the future of the Lomé trade and aid convention; the 1999 United Nations special session on small island developing states; regional law enforcement cooperation, ministerial policy meetings on areas such as aviation and communications, and regional security cooperation, among others," Mr. Slatyer said.

The Forum Officials Committee, comprising senior representatives from the 16 Forum member states, will meet in late November to approve the Secretariat's 1999-2001 Work Program and budget.

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