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SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, April 30) - A two-day regional consultation on Building Partnerships for Crisis Prevention, Human Security and Peace building in the Pacific Region—organized by the United Nations Development Program—started in Suva yesterday.

United Nations Development Program manager for Pacific Center Garry Wiseman said the conference was to find ground for consensus on security issues and a way for governments, civil society and development agencies to come together to address the root causes of insecurity in the Pacific region.

He said it was an opportunity for finding the views and concerns of regional government and academics in the run-up to the Forum Regional Committee in June.

"All of you are well aware of the natural disasters that confront the region on a regular basis, as well as the violence and lawless behavior that have become a recurrent feature in some parts of the Pacific," Mr. Wiseman said.

He asked the participants to focus on what could be done to reduce human insecurity in the region.

He said that to promote development and reduce human security it was vital to reduce the marginalization of groups and individuals in the community.

"We must seek to avoid situations where the voices of the marginalized are heard when identifying the issues causing human insecurity but ignored when defining possible solutions," he said.

Participants include representatives from Pacific island countries, women's groups, security institutions, private sector, academia and religious bodies.

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