Resourcing A Major Challenge For MSG: Outgoing Director

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Forau resigns in part due to ‘declining commitment’ from members

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 19, 2015) – Resourcing is becoming a major challenge for the Melanesian Spearhead Group, according to the outgoing Director General of the MSG Secretariat.

Peter Forau, who has held the position since 2011, this week tendered his resignation, two years before his term was due to end.

Mr Forau says he is throwing in the towel partly due to declining commitment from MSG member countries.

He says budgetary support is no longer readily available.

"And I think that's partly because of the emergence of some of these other challenges, climate change and the El Nino cycle is causing huge problems for our member countries, where they have to dig deeper than they used to. But I think it's a region which shouldn't have any problems with sufficiently resourcing the work programme of the secretariat."

Mr Forau also says various issues among member states had made his job difficult.

He felt he no longer has the strength of all MSG members for implementing the group's work programme.

Mr Forau also says lingering problems in member relationships has made his job difficult.

"There have been some influences exerted on some of our members about how they should relate to Fiji during the time when the government was not an elected government. And so some of those relationship issues are still around, and sometimes something has happened between, for example, Papua New Guinea and Fiji... issues that sometimes you come across in your meetings as well and they don't help at all."

Peter Forau says the MSG is constrained by the fact it has fewer member states than other regional organisations.

The MSG has five full members - Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the FLNKS of New Caledonia.

Whereas Mr Forau says the Pacific Islands Forum for instance has 16 full members and the SPC, the Pacific Community, has 26.

Peter Forau says in terms of sharing the burden of resourcing the group agencies, other regional organisations are better placed than the MSG which has to share the resourcing burden over only five members, one of which (the FLNKS) is dependent on the others to meet its financial obligations.

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