Guam – “The SPC mission is to help the Pacific Island people respond effectively to the challenges they face, and make informed decisions about their future and the future they wish to leave for the generations to follow.” said Dr. Jimmie Rodgers, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
Dr. Rodgers made his comments on the SPC “ongoing” commitment to the region as it celebrates its 65th birthday. It was on February 6, 1947 that the South Pacific Commission was formed (now called the Secretariat of the Pacific Community).
“Since then, SPC has come a long way,” said Dr. Rodgers, “Our membership now comprises 22 Pacific Island countries and territories as well as four of its founding members – Australia, France, New Zealand and United States.
“Our work programme spans over 20 sectors including important intersecting priorities such as climate change, food security and gender. We assist our island members achieve their national development outcomes.”
“Today SPC’s work covers almost all the key economic, environmental and social sectors,” said Dr Rodgers.
[ Shown cutting the SPC 65th Anniversary Cake are (l to r) Ms Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Deputy Director General SPC; Peter Eafare, PNG High Commissioner, and Ms. Saipora Mataikabara, Fiji’s Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs, In the background is SPC Director General Dr. Jimmie Rodgers.]
These sectors include natural resources that are focused on agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, forestry and water. Human and social development is concerned with education, health, sanitation, culture, gender, youth, and human rights.
Economic development includes ICT, infrastructure and transport among its responsibilities, while oceans and islands address coastal zone management, geological assessments, sea-bed mapping, and maritime boundary issues.
SPC work also involves cross-cutting areas, primarily disaster risk reduction, statistics and demography, gender, human rights, food security and climate change. It also has a support infrastructure that includes research, policy analysis and advice.
To undertake the work, SPC employs nearly 300 scientists, technicians and specialists located at its two main centres in Noumea, New Caledonia and Suva Fiji as well as at its north Pacific regional office in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.