SPC: CRGA Chairman Wants a Resilient Pacific Community

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Noumea, New Cladonia – At the close of the recently held meeting of the Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA), Chair Mrs Litia Mawi, said that she was grateful for the spirit of genuine dialogue, cooperation and collegiality that had prevailed throughout the high-level conference.

At the meeting in Noumea, at the headquarters of the Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (SPC) Mrs Mawi, who is Fiji’s Roving Ambassador and High Commissioner to Pacific Island Countries, said that her personal vision for Pacific Countries and Territories in today’s fast-changing world is one of “ A resilient Pacific community through self-reliance at all levels”.

[Mrs. Litia Mawi and SPC Director General Jimmie Rodgers during a CRGA meeting. Mrs. Mawi chaired the meeting]

Mrs Mawi also believes that communication, community and accountability are key to developing resilience, and while acknowledging the importance of aid-based development projects, does not wish to see an aid-dependent mentality continue within Pacific peoples.

Mrs Mawi said that for AID to be effective, and in true keeping with the Paris Declaration Principle 3, there is a need to not just harmonize but really synchronize all AID projects so they are complementary, and thus still gain from any duplication of effort and resources.

Priorities need to be determined by the people themselves, as at the end of the day, they will be held accountable for the impact of any development efforts. Pacific Governments and Development Partners alike should no longer be asking communities, “What can we do to help?” but rather, “What can we do to add value to what you are already doing to help yourself?”

Mrs Mawi sees the need for critical choices between which efforts can be more cost-effective at the regional level, in a whole-of–region approach, or at a national level, in a whole-of-country approach. But even when solutions are devised regionally, their successful implementation will still depend on national ownership and competence.

Acknowledging this reality will induce greater collaboration between national governments, their private sectors, civil societies and communities “…so that the total net effect all efforts results in improved living standards for the people. In this way, a major part of corporate and social accountability will be met, while granting the people to take true ownership of development outcomes.”

Monitoring and evaluation should now be a major part of any development programme, but Mrs Mawi believes that the focus must be on the impact of a project upon the community and its individuals, not just be an assessment of project outputs and outcomes.

“For me, the most important part of Paris Declaration Principle 4 “Managing for Results” is communication; communicating for results and communication of the results,” said Mrs Mawi. In Pacific cultures, there is typically some reluctance with this second aspect.

Mrs Mawi believes that the people of the Pacific have the potential to tap into “…the spirit of resilience, of exploration, that brought our ancestors across to the Pacific Ocean to find somewhere to settle. That spirit got us here. If our forefathers were that exploratory, where is that spirit of adventure in us? Let us together recover and rekindle that spirit if we wish to successfully cultivate the resilience needed by the next generation of Pacific people to survive a fast-changing future”

“We are the Pacific people. Let us also capitalize on our well-known Pacific solidarity,” concluded Mrs Mawi.