Forum Continues To Risk Irrelevance Analyst Says

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Leaders ignored call for restructure at recent meeting

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 3, 2012) – A commentator on Pacific geopolitics says the Pacific Islands Forum risks irrelevance if it doesn’t heed calls for a restructure.

The Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Public Policy, Derek Brien, says the Forum is becoming confused about its role, with the emergence of subregional groups such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group.

At the recent summit in the Cook Islands Australia and New Zealand called for the Forum to continue its suspension of Fiji despite most member countries wanting to reward Fiji for taking steps towards democracy.

Mr Brien says an internal review of the Forum Secretariat proposed a significant restructure, but there was no response from the leaders.

"The longer some of those tough decisions are left, the more the island stakeholders are just going to start giving up on the Forum as a body that is truly representative of their needs."

The Pacific Institute for Public Policy’s Derek Brien.

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