STRENGTHENING REGIONAL COOPERATION

THROUGH

ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT

WITH CIVIL SOCIETY










REPORT






DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
PIAS-DG
USP


2

The University of the South Pacific

PACIFIC INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDIES IN DEVELOPMENT &
GOVERNANCE
DEVELOPMENT STUDIES
telephone: (679) 323 2297 fax: (679) 323 1523
email: developmentstudies@usp.ac.fj
29 July 2005
















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



We wish to thank the Forum Secretariat and the
Governance Programme of PIAS-DG whose funding
made this project possible.

We also wish to thank the Friends of the South
Pacific International (FSPI) for funding meeting costs in
Lautoka, and the Foundation for Rural Integrated
Enterprises ‘N Development (FRIEND) for organizing the
meeting.


3

Contents

Acknowledgements







2
List of Tables








4
Executive Summary







5

I INTRODUCTION
Project Aims







7
Methodology Project Strategy 7
Project Sample 8
Key Concepts and Indicators 8



A Yardstick

11

II REGIONAL
CONNECTEDNESS
Regional Affinity 12
Regional Knowledge 16
Regional Benefit 18
Regional Performance 20
Regional Expectation 21


III COMMUNITY
ASPIRATIONS:
NEEDS, PROBLEMS, ISSUES

Needs and Problems





23

Most important Issues Facing the Region



25

IV ENHANCED COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Key Requirements






27
Forms of Engagement






27

V THE PACIFIC PLAN: WHAT HOPE?

Reactions and Suggestions





29

Assisting
in
National
Implementation
31

Monitoring
and
Evaluation
31

VI PROSPECTS







33

VII
RECOMMENDATIONS 35

VIII
POSTSCRIPT
36

APPENDICES

A
Profile of sample






39

B
Dialogue Programme





40

C
Guiding Questions for Small Group Discussions

42

D
Participant
Evaluation
of
Dialogues 43

E
Team members






43


4

LIST OF TABLES


Table 1
Regional Attachment and Regional Utility: Two Indicators of
Regional Affinity





12

Table 2
Regional Attachment by Country, Sex, Age and Employment 13

Table 3
Regional Utility by Country, Sex, Age and Employment 14

Table 4
Ranking of Regional Identity 15

Table 5
Consistency of Regional Identity 15

Table 6
Regional Identity by Country, Sex, Age, Employment Status 15

Table 7
Knowledge of Regional Issues 16

Table 8
Knowledge of Regional Organizations 17

Table 9:
Knowledge of Regional Governance 17

Table 10
Personal Benefit derived from Regional Organizations 18

Table 11
Perceived Community Benefit derived from Regional Organizations 19

Table 12 Assessed Community Benefit derived from Regional Organizations 19

Table 13 Performance of Regional Organizations 20

Table 14 Assessed Performance of Regional Organizations 20

Table 15
Assessed Capacity of Regional Organizations to improve
individuals’ lives and the community 21

Table 16
Assessed Likelihood of Regional Organizations improving 21
individuals’ lives and the community

Table 17 Community Needs and Problems Most identified as Most Important 23

Table 18
Before and After: Regional Attachment and Regional Utility 33

Table 19
Improvement in Regional Knowledge: Before and After Dialogues 34





5

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY


The Project
• The project revolved around two-day community dialogues in Suva, Lautoka,
Apia and Honiara. Of the 146 participants, 117 attended both days.

Key Findings
• The sense of regional connectedness is stronger than expected.

• Despite low levels of knowledge and perceived benefit, the incidence of a
strong regional identity as well as a strong sense of regional attachment and
expectation is greater than expected.

• Regional organizations are seen to perform very well but room for
improvement is also perceived.

• The community clearly wants regional organizations to be more engaged
with them and not just through governments.

• It wants regularised and institutionalised engagement and maximum
inclusiveness.

• The community wants to be integrally involved in the Pacific Plan, including its
monitoring and evaluation.

• Community involvement is considered necessary for the success of the Plan,
including through special contributions NGOs can make.

Recommendations

For greater community engagement with regional organizations:

• Broaden the eligibility criteria for the Forum Secretariat’s Framework for
Engagement with Non-State Actors.
• Accord the community the same recognition given the private sector.
• Help communities to form regional associations.
• Explore the establishment of Regional Liaison Units based in Forum Island
Countries.
• Work towards a Pacific Parliament with direct community representation.

To strengthen regional affinity:

• Develop a Regional News Service.
• Establish a Regional Sports Academy.
• Hold a Regional Youth Congress on Leadership.
• Develop a Regional Register and Exchange Programme of Regional Experts
(including retirees).


6
• Provide stronger support for community theatre.


To improve knowledge and awareness of regionalism:

• Embed Regional Studies at USP and strengthen linkages between USP and
other CROP agencies by
a. Establishing a designated CROP-funded Chair in Regional Studies,
b. Instituting an Annual Lecture series on Regionalism.
• Seek Forum Education Ministers’ endorsement of introducing into High
Schools a curriculum on regionalism to be developed by USP.


To strengthen the Pacific Plan

• Use the Pacific Plan to secure better enforcement of human rights standards,
especially in relation to the Rights of the Child and CEDAW.
• Include community representatives in national implementation, monitoring
and evaluation of the Pacific Plan.
• Where appropriate, make greater use of NGO data.
• Make greater use of community organizations to disseminate information on
the Pacific Plan.






7
I
INTRODUCTION




PROJECT AIMS

The main aim of the project was to seek community views on whether and
how regional co-operation could be strengthened through enhanced community
engagement. A commonly and long held view, based more on impression and
anecdote than hard empirical evidence, is that Pacific Islanders generally feel
disconnected from regionalism. This view has never been tested in a social scientific
way and testing its validity was a necessary task around which the project was partly
constructed.

Whether and how much that view has influenced the discourse and practice of
regionalism cannot be determined but it is at least arguable that Pacific regionalism
might have been more effective had the community been more involved in it. The
recent shift towards such involvement is therefore welcome. It underlines the growing
acceptance of the need for greater community involvement as well as the hope that
the effectiveness and legitimacy of regionalism will be enhanced.


If greater community engagement were to produce successful outcomes, the
basis for it needs to be solid, clearly understood and accepted by stakeholders. The
terms of engagement need to be negotiated and the community views gathered
through the project are a contribution to that task.

METHODOLOGY

PROJECT STRATEGY: COMMUNITY DIALOGUES


The project involved four 2-day community dialogues held in Suva (12-13
April), Lautoka (14-15 April), Apia (20-21 April) and Honiara (27-28 April) in 2005 and
adopted a three-pronged strategy.

The first was maximization of time for participant contribution. The dialogues
were organized predominantly around small group discussions for which key themes
and guiding questions were developed (see Appendix C). However, it was stressed to
participants that the guiding questions were no more than that, and they were free to
address any question or issue they wished.

The second was educative. Wherever necessary, the project team provided
information on regionalism. Plenary sessions were used to explain key issues and
their context but often further information and explanation was necessary in the
small group discussions that followed. This was especially true for the Pacific Plan.

The third was the use of questionnaires. One was administered at the start of
each dialogue. The purpose was to get participants’ views on regionalism cold, so to
speak; in other words, to get views before being influenced by the substantive


8
discussions that followed. A second questionnaire was administered at the end of
each dialogue. The purpose was two-fold: to see if participants’ views had changed
since the start of the dialogue; and second, to allow participants to evaluate the
dialogue in a formal and structured way.

PROJECT SAMPLE


Of the 146 people who attended the dialogues, 117 attended on both days.
Those who attended for only day are excluded from the data analysis because,
compared with those who attended on both days, their contributions to the
discussions were limited and, in relation to the questionnaires, incomplete. Including
them would therefore skew the results.


In selecting participants the key consideration was to get a broad cross section
of the community that mirrored its socio-economic and demographic makeup. To that
end, a preferred sample profile was developed and given to in-country assistants with
local knowledge. They were tasked with selecting prospective participants and were
asked to aim for a mix as close as possible to the preferred sample profile. Selected
participants were then issued with an invitation prepared by the project team.

With such purposive as opposed to random sampling, there is no claim to
representativeness, only that the actual sample was close to the preferred sample
profile, except for three notable biases. One is the under-representation of women
(33%). The second is the small number of Indo-Fijian participants, a point noted by
some Fiji participants. The third was the disproportionately large representation at the
Honiara dialogue of students from the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education.
The skewing effect of this, however, was mitigated by the fact that, overall, the
representation of young people increased to a level (37% of the total sample) that
was closer to the wider regional demographic than would otherwise have been the
case. The makeup of the sample, shown in Appendix A, represents a good cross
section of the community.


KEY CONCEPTS AND INDICATORS

Key concepts and the indicators used in the study are explained below.



COMMUNITY

Participants were not given a definition of community, certainly not before the
administration of the first questionnaire, which included questions relating to “your
community”. The themes of the first two small group discussions that followed
completion of the first questionnaire were “Us and our needs” and “Our communities
in development”. Participants spent much time addressing the guiding question:
“who are we?” and the consensus was that “we” had many dimensions. When
representatives of the small groups, selected by the groups themselves, reported
back to the whole meeting, it was agreed that participants think of their community
as the collectivity for which they felt the strongest attachment, which could be their


9
village, their church, work colleagues, a social or business group with which they were
involved, or something else.


REGIONALISM

Regionalism means different things to different people and to have spoken
about it in an abstract, undefined way risked greater confusion. As a working
definition that they could understand, participants were asked to think of regionalism
as, broadly, the activities of regional organizations.

REGIONAL CONNECTEDNESS

The negotiation of the terms of enhanced community engagement in
regionalism are more likely to be effective if it is informed by a clearer sense of why
the community might feel, or in the past felt, disconnected from regionalism. That in
turn requires clarity about what regional connectedness/disconnectedness means
and how it can be recognized. For the project, regional connectedness was
understood as a multiple sense of being a meaningful and recognized part of the
regional practice. Implicit in that is a sense of affinity, gain, success and expectation
about the future, in addition to a reasonable level of knowledge. For the project, these
are the elements in which regional connectedness was seen to consist. The
conceptualisation and indicators of these elements are outlined below.



REGIONAL AFFINITY

Regional affinity was conceptualised as attraction to or liking of regionalism,
which implies sense of attachment to, utility of and identification with regionalism.
Each of these is now explained.

• Regional attachment was understood as sense of a belonging to the region
and is indicated by expressions of caring for it. Participants were therefore
asked the following question:

“Ordinary Pacific Islanders don’t care very much about regional organizations”.
Do you strongly agree/agree/slightly agree/disagree/strongly disagree?

• Regional utility was understood as the usefulness of regionalism for the lives
of Pacific Islanders and is indicated by their views on the extent to which
regionalism improves peoples’ lives. Participants were therefore asked the
following question:

“Regional Organizations do not improve the lives of ordinary Pacific
Islanders”. Do you strongly agree/agree/slightly agree/disagree/strongly
disagree?

• Regional identity is only one multiple identities that people have. To get an
indication of its salience, participants were asked to rank in order of
importance the following identities:
National identity

“Fiji Islander/Samoan/Solomon Islander”


10
Sub-regional identity
“Melanesian, Polynesian or Micronesian”
Village identity:

“My village/settlement”
Regional identity:
“Pacific Islander”
Island identity

“The Island I come from”


REGIONAL KNOWLEDGE

From the view that Pacific Islanders generally have little knowledge of
regionalism flows the reasonable supposition that regional connectedness is likely to
be weak if regional knowledge is low, and vice versa. To gauge the level of regional
knowledge, three indicators were used: knowledge of six regional issues; knowledge
of regional organizations (“what they do”); and knowledge of regional governance
(“how regional organizations work”).

REGIONAL BENEFIT
A reasonable supposition is that there is an inverse relationship between
connectedness and benefit derived from regionalism; the greater the benefit, the
stronger the sense of connectedness and vice versa. Participants were therefore
asked these questions:

How much do you think [the regional] organizations have benefited you?

How much do you think [the regional] organizations have benefited your
community?


REGIONAL PERFORMANCE
Another reasonable supposition is that sense of connectedness is inversely
related to perception of regional performance. Participants were asked to assess
regional performance:

What do you think about the overall performance of regional organizations?


REGIONAL EXPECTATION
Regional expectation was understood as the confidence with which
regionalism was in seen in terms of improving people’s lives. It is indicated by views
about the capacity regionalism to do that and the likelihood that it will. Participants
were therefore asked the following questions:

Do you think regional organizations can improve your life?
Do you think regional organizations can improve your community?
Do you think regional organizations will improve your life?
Do you think regional organizations will improve your community?

Unlike the first four indicators, suppositions about the relationship between
connectedness and expectation are less easily made. Knowledge about what
regionalism can realistically deliver is often incomplete and the future is simply
indeterminate. Intuitively, however, it makes sense that connectedness is informed by
expectation.



11
A YARDSTICK

Collectively the five indicators of regional connectedness allow a picture that is
better in outline than detail. A sharper, more textured picture is not possible because,
in methodological terms, not only are the indicators no more than indicators that but
also there is no watertight procedure by which to aggregate them. Even if there were,
there would still be the contentious matter of salience and any attempt at attaching
weights to the respective indicators would be subjective and fraught. What this
means, again methodologically speaking, is that a measure of regional
connectedness is not possible, which is why the notion of a yardstick is presented
here as a reasonable alternative. To amplify: never perfectly straight, a yardstick
cannot accurately measure distance but it can provide a fairly good approximation.
Moreover, its twists and knots are a good analogy for the kinds of methodological
difficulties described above and which is a fact of life for much social science
research.

Against this conceptual and methodological account, the project findings are
now presented: firstly, on regional connectedness, then on community needs and
problems; enhanced community engagement in regionalism; the Pacific Plan; and,
finally, the probable effect of the dialogues on participant views. For each of these,
implications for possible future action are drawn. The report concludes with
recommendations.


12
II REGIONAL
CONNECTEDNESS


REGIONAL AFFINITY

Regional Attachment and Utility

The results suggest that regional affinity is not strong but neither is as weak as
might have been supposed. This is generally the case across all three indicators. In
relation to the first indicator (regional attachment), 58% of participants agreed or
strongly agreed with the statement that Pacific Islanders do not care much about
regionalism. A further 17% agreed lightly. The remaining 25% disagreed or strongly
disagreed, a surprisingly high figure, which was even higher (31%) for those who felt
that regionalism does improve the lives of Pacific Islanders (see Table 1). This is
encouraging because it indicates a firmer than expected platform on which future
efforts at strengthening regional affinity can be built.




Table 1: Regional Attachment and Regional Utility:
Two
Indicators
of
Regional
Affinity



Regional Attachment:
Regional Utility:
“Pacific Islanders don’t
“Regional organizations do
care about regional
not improves live of Pacific
organizations”
Islanders”
Disagree &


Strongly
27 25%
33
31%
Disagree
Slightly Agree



18
17%
25
23%
Agree &


Strongly
63 58%
49
46%
Agree



Furthermore, the unexpectedly high level of regional attachment and regional
utility are not uniform across key variables. Strong regional attachment was more
evident in Solomon Islands (44%) and Fiji (30%) than Samoa (26%), and among men
(63%), younger participants (58%) and students (44%). See Table 2. A similar pattern
was found in relation to regional utility (see Table 3), which suggest that strategies to
strengthen regional affinity need to be targeted. One possibility is to focus, at least
initially, on countries and community groups where regional affinity appears strong. A
rationale for this is the greater likelihood of the targeted groups being catalysts for
the wider diffusion of regional connectedness. Focussing instead on countries and
sections of the community where regional affinity is comparatively weak might be a
speedier way of achieving the same end but may require greater effort and resources
because its starts from a weaker base. The choice might be informed by the findings
on the third indicator of regional affinity – regional identity.


13







Table 2
Regional Attachment by Country, Sex, Age and
Employment

“Pacific Islanders don’t care about regional
organizations”
Disagree
&
Slightly
Agree &
Strongly
Agree
Strongly Agree
Disagree
COUNTRY



Fiji
8 (30%)
9 (50%) 29 (46%)
Samoa
7 (26%)
5 (28%) 11 (18%)
Solomon Islands 12 (44%)
4 (22%) 23 (36%)
SEX



Male
17 (63%)
12 (67%) 44 (70%)
Female
10 (37%)
6 (33%) 19 (30%)




AGE
Under 21 years

1 ( 5%)
1 ( 2%)
21- 30 years
15 (58%)
5 (28%)
19 (31%)
31-40 years
4 (15%)
3 (17%)
13 (21%)
41-50 years
6 (23%)
2 (11%)
11 (18%)
Over 50 years
1 ( 4%)
7 (39%)
17 (28%)
EMPLOYMENT



Student
12 (44%)
4 (22%)
14 (22%)
Public sector
6 (22%)
3 (17%)
10 (16%)
All others
26 (34%)
18 (61%) 63 (62%)















14

Table 3 Regional Utility by Country, Sex, Age and
Employment

“Regional organizations do not improves
live of Pacific Islanders”
Disagree
&
Slightly
Agree &
Strongly
Agree
Strongly
Disagree
Agree
COUNTRY



Fiji
14 (42%)
8 (32%)
22 (45%)
Samoa
8 (24%)
8 (32%)
7 (14%)
Solomon Islands
11 (33%)
9 (36%)
20 (41%)
SEX



Male
22 (67%)
14 (56%)
37 (75%)
Female
11 (33%)
11 (44%)
12 (25%)
AGE



Under 21 years
1 ( 3%)

1 ( 2%)
21- 30 years
14 (44%)
9 (38%)
15 (31%)
31-40 years
6 (19%)
6 (25%)
9 (19%)
41-50 years
5 (15%)
2 ( 8%)
10 (21%)
Over 50 years
6 (19%)
7 (29%)
13 (27%)
EMPLOYMENT



Students
10 (30%)
6 (25%)
14 (29%)
Public sector
8 (24%)
4 (17%)
6 (12%)
All others
15 (46%)
14 (58%)
29 (59%)




Regional Identity
Not surprisingly, most participants (37%) ranked village identity or national
identity (22%) the most important of the five identified. Regional identity ranked third
at 16%, a result that can be interpreted differently, not least because it represents
only eighteen participants (see Table 4 below).


Table 4: The Ranking of Regional Identity

ORDER OF IMPORTANCE

Most
Second
Third
Fourth
Fifth
INDENTITY
important most
most
most
most
important important important important
Village
41 (37%) 19 (18%) 20 (20%) 16 (16%) 9 ( 9%)
National
32 (22%) 15 (14%) 39 (39%) 6 ( 6%)
13 (13%)
Regional
18 (16%) 17 (16%) 13 (13%) 30
27 (28%)
(30%)
Island
16 (14%) 38 (36%) 17 (17%) 16
14 (14%)
(16%)
Subregional
4 ( 4%)
17 (16%) 12 (12%) 31
34 (35%)
(31%)
Total
111
106
101
99 (100%) 97 (100%)
(100%)
(100%)
(100%)


15



One surprising result, however, is that of the five identities regional identity
was the most consistently held. This is indicated by the differences in the spread of
participants across the rankings for each identity. A large difference indicates a less
consistently held identity; a small difference indicates a more consistently held one.
The difference for regional identity was the lowest. (See Table 5 below.)


Table 5 Consistency of Regional Identity

RANKINGS OF IDENTITIES

Most
Second
Third
Fourth
Fifth
Difference
important most
most
most
most
in Spread
important important important important
Village
1 2 2 3 5 +4
National
2 5 1 5 4 +4
Regional
3 3 4 2 2 +2
Island
4 1 3 3 3 +3
Subregional 5 3 5 1 1 +4


The incidence of strong regional identity was also compared across key
variables and the pattern there is different. It was virtually the reverse. Whereas
regional attachment and regional utility were least evident in Samoa, strong regional
identity was most evident there. It was also more evident among older than younger
participants and among public sector employees than students. (See Table 6 below.)
Again because of the small number involved, this finding is at best suggestive.


Table 6: Regional Identity by Country, Sex, Age, Employment Status
No.
%
COUNTRY

Fiji
6
33%
Samoa
9
50%
Solomon Islands
3
17%
SEX


Men 12
67%
Women
6
33%
AGE


Under 21 years
1
6%
21-30 years
3
18%
31-40 years
1
6%
41-50years
7
41%
Over 50 years
5
29%
EMPLOYMENT


Students
3
17%
Public sector
7
39%
All others
8
44%



16

What, then, do these results collectively suggest about regional affinity
amongst Pacific Islanders? They cannot be aggregated easily, nor can an overall
measure be extracted from them, but there is a consistency across them that serves
as a yardstick. It suggests that, although not strong, the level of regional affinity is
more encouraging than might have been expected. Moreover, the results also point to
differences between countries and sections of the community that can be useful for
future attempts at strengthening regional affinity.


REGIONAL KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge of Regional Issues
The findings on regional knowledge are less encouraging but not surprising.
The vast majority of participants (83%) knew “nothing, little or not very much” about
the six regional issues put to them, most especially trade and fisheries, and only
slightly less so the environment, as well as regional peace and security. Knowledge of
regional education was rather better but low nonetheless. As an overall measure of
regional knowledge, individual averages across the six regional issues were
calculated and from these an overall average was calculated (see Table 7).


It should be noted that some participants did not respond on all of the issues.
Only those on which participants responded were included in the calculation of
averages. This procedure was also applied to knowledge of regional organizations and
knowledge of regional governance.

Table 7: Knowledge of Regional Issues
Knowledge
of
regional
issues

Little/
Not very much
Quite a lot/A lot
Nothing
No. %
No. %
No.
%
Trade 60
59%
28
28%
13
13%
Fisheries 56
54%
34
33%
13
13%
Education 33
32%
40
38%
31
30%
Transport 56
55%
31
30%
15
15%
Environment 41
40% 40
39%
21 21%
Peace & Security 51
50%
33
32%
18
18%
Average
50
46%
40
37%
18
17%



Knowledge of Regional Organizations

Knowledge of regional organizations is worse than knowledge of regional
issues. Across the eight regional organizations, 89% of participants knew “nothing,
little or not very much” about their activities. Least was known were the activities of
PIDP, SOPAC and SPTO, only slightly more about those of the Forum Secretariat,
SPREP and SPC. By comparison, USP fared significantly better but even in that case
the level of knowledge was low.




17

Table 8: Knowledge of Regional Organizations


Knowledge of what regional organizations do
Little/
Not very much
Quite a lot/A lot
Nothing

No. %
No. % No. %
FORUM SEC.
64 63% 23 22%
15 15%
SPC
53 52% 28 28%
20 20%
USP
34 34% 20 20%
47 46%
SPREP
61 62% 20 21%
17 17%
FFA
67 68% 19 20%
12 12%
PIDP
78
80%
11
11%
9
9%
SOPAC
76
77%
14
14%
9
9%
SPTO
79
79%
12
12%
9
9%
Average
65 63% 27 26%
12 11%



Knowledge of Regional Governance

Of the three indicators of regional knowledge, knowledge of regional
governance (operationalized as “how regional organizations work”) was the worst.
Across all eight organizations, 92% of participants knew nothing, little or not very
much about how they work. Again, the level of ignorance was highest for PIDP, SPTO
and SOPAC and only slightly lower for the Forum Secretariat and SPC. Again, USP
fared better but poorly nonetheless.


Table 9: Knowledge of Regional Governance

Knowledge of how regional organizations work
Little/
Not very much
Quite a lot/A lot
Nothing

No. %
No. %
No.
%
FORUM SEC.
61 60%
26 26% 14
14%
SPC
62 60%
24 23% 17
17%
USP
44 44%
18 18% 38
38%
SPREP
64 65%
21 21% 14
14%
FFA
72
74%
17
17%
9
9%
PIDP
77
77%
18
18%
5
5%
SOPAC
80
80%
12
12%
8
8%
SPTO
78
77%
16
16%
7
7%
Average
65
63%
30
29%
8
8%










18



In sum, the level of regional knowledge is low. It was lowest in Solomon
Islands, followed by Fiji and Samoa; as well as among women, younger participants
and those without university education. The need for an effective education
programme is clear.


REGIONAL BENEFIT

The overall finding on regional benefit is similar to that for regional knowledge.
Most participants (80%) benefited little from regional organizations. Again PIDP,
SPTO and SOPAC came out the worst, followed by the Forum Secretariat, FFA and
SPREP, with USP bucking the trend, slightly more than 50% saying they personally
benefited a lot or quite a lot from it. See Table 10.


Table 10: Personal Benefit derived from Regional Organizations

A lot (5)/
Not very
Little (2)/
Quite a
much
Very little
lot (4)
(1)
Benefit






from:
Forum Sec 16 16% 19 20% 63 64%
SPC
18 18% 23 23% 59 59%
USP
9 51% 17 17% 31 32%
SPREP
17 18% 19 20% 59 62%
FFA
16 17% 20 21% 61 63%
PIDP
6 6% 18
19% 72 75%
SOPAC
8 8% 17
18% 70 73%
SPTO
9 10% 12 13% 74 77%
Average
12 12% 26 26% 61 62%



Assessing the benefit of regionalism to communities is rather more difficult. In
any case, what often matters is perception. Asked for their perception of benefit to
their community, many participants felt unable to offer an assessment (the ‘Don’t
Knows’ in Table 11).


19








Table 11: Perceived Community Benefit derived from
Regional
Organizations

A lot (5)/
Not very
Little (2)/ Don’t
Quite a
much
Very little know
lot (4)
(1)
Benefit








from:
Forum Sec 13 13% 11 11% 30 30% 45 46%
SPC
16 17% 16 16% 31 31% 37 37%
USP
31 31% 15 15% 28 28% 25 26%
SPREP
14 14% 17 17% 27 28% 40 41%
FFA
13 13% 13 13% 31 31% 44 43%
PIDP
8 8% 17
17% 22 22% 53 53%
SOPAC
8 8% 13
13% 22 22% 56 56%
SPTO
11 11% 11 11% 27 27% 52 51%



The vast majority of those who did offer an assessment, upwards of 75%, felt
that their communities benefited little. Again USP was the stand out exception, with
42% believing it benefited their community (see Table 12).


Table 12: Assessed Community Benefit derived from
Regional
Organizations


A lot (5)/
Not very
Little (2)/
Quite a
much
Very little
lot (4)
(1)
Benefit






from:
Forum Sec 13 24% 11 20% 30 56%
SPC
16 25% 16 25% 31 50%
USP
31 42% 15 20% 28 38%
SPREP
14 24% 17 29% 27 47%
FFA
13 23% 13 23% 31 54%
PIDP
8 17% 17 36% 22 47%
SOPAC
8 19% 13 30% 22 51%
SPTO
11 22% 11 22% 27 56%
Average
17 22% 22 28% 39 50%



20


REGIONAL PERFORMANCE

With such low levels of regional knowledge and perceived benefit, a similar
result would have been expected in relation to overall regional performance but this
was not the case. Again, many participants felt unable to make a judgement (see
Table 13) but the large number who did were overwhelmingly (upwards of 72%)
positive in their assessment of all regional organizations (see Table 14).

Table 13: Performance of Regional Organizations

Bad/Not
Good Very
Good/
Don’t know
very good
Excellent
Forum Sec 10 10% 25 26% 20 21% 42 43%
SPC
12 12% 28 29% 26 27% 31 32%
USP
9
9%
18
19%
49
51%
20
21%
SPREP
14 14% 30 31% 23 24% 30 31%
FFA
14 14% 35 36% 15 16% 33 34%
PIDP
10
11%
34
35%
5
5%
47
49%
SOPAC
13 14% 26 27% 11 11% 46 48%
SPTO
14 15% 24 25% 12 13% 44 47%
Average
18
20%
43
48%
23
26%
5
6%



Table 14: Assessed Performance of Regional Organizations

NEGATIVE


POSITIVE
(1)
(2)
(3)
(2) + (3)
Bad/Not
Good
Very Good/
very good
Excellent
Forum Sec 10 18% 25 46% 20 36% 82%
SPC
12 18% 28 42% 26 40% 82%
USP
9
12%
18
24%
49
64% 88%
SPREP
14 21% 30 45% 23 34% 79%
FFA
14 22% 35 55% 15 23% 78%
PIDP
10 20% 34 70%

5 10% 80%
SOPAC
13 26% 26 52% 11 22% 74%
SPTO
14 28% 24 48% 12 24% 72%


That most participants rated USP’s performance highly, with 64% judging it
very good or excellent, further confirms its standing in the community as a good
performer. Clearly this has to do with the large numbers of people, students and
others, who over the years have been involved with USP. That in turn is due largely to
USP’s extensive presence in the region. As one Solomon Islands participant put it:

USP is successful because it is nationally present and it
publicises its activities. People know about it through interaction
with it.




21

To anticipate the later discussion, physical presence was strongly emphasized
as a key factor in strengthening community engagement with regionalism.

How is the strong and positive assessment of regional performance to be
explained, especially against a background of low knowledge and perceived benefit?
The argument here is that three factors are important. One is the stronger-than-
expected level of regional affinity. The second, which will be discussed later, is the
high level of dissatisfaction with government and governance at the national level.
Related to this, thirdly, is the surprisingly high level of confidence that regionalism
can help Pacific Islanders and the high expectation that it will.


REGIONAL EXPECTATION

Excluding the small number of participants who did not offer a view, the
overwhelmingly majority of participants felt that regional organizations could benefit
their lives (97%) as well as their community (95%) (see Table 15). Most also felt that
it would benefit them and their community, 88% and 87% respectively (see Table 16).



Table 15: Assessed Capacity of Regional Organizations to improve



individuals’ lives and the community

Can improve Yes
No
Individuals’ lives
84
97%
3
3%
The community
84
95%
4
5%


Table 16: Assessed Likelihood of Regional Organizations improving



individuals’ lives and the community

Will improve Yes
No
Individuals’
lives
76 88% 10 12%
The
community 74 87% 11 13%


How well placed this overwhelming sense of confidence and expectation is
remains to be seen, an early test of which will be the outcomes of the Pacific Plan, on
which more later. For now, the following observations are made by way of a summary
of the discussion thus far.


While there clearly are gaps between regionalism and the community, the task
of bridging them might not be as daunting as many might have believed. Knowledge
levels need to be increased and the benefits of regionalism need to be explained
rather better. Too often lack of tangible benefit is equated with no benefit at all, so it
is not surprising that in the eyes of the community USP consistently comes out the
best and SPC generally second best. The vital importance of the Forum Secretariat’s
efforts in the area of regional reform, for example, is generally lost to the community
and the same is true of much of the work of the other regional organizations.


22

A strong and sustained education campaign is needed if the community is to
become better attuned to the aims of regionalism and what can realistically be
expected of it. The evidence from the project suggests a degree of regional
connectedness that puts such an outcome within the realm of possibility. But
education can achieve only so much. As is now increasingly recognized, the relevance,
viability and legitimacy of regionalism require meaningful participation by
stakeholders in it, and they include the community.

The encouraging levels of regional affinity and confidence in regionalism
revealed by the project point to a reservoir of latent responsiveness that fuller
community engagement in regionalism could easily unlock. But such engagement
needs to be genuine, institutionalised and predicated on willingness by all
stakeholders to give as well as to take. As will be shown presently, the community
desires such engagement and have views on the forms it might take. Before
considering them, a brief account of their needs and aspirations is necessary.





23
III COMMUNITY ASPIRATIONS: NEEDS, PROBLEMS,
ISSUES


NEEDS AND PROBLEMS

Community needs and problems are generally well known. Nevertheless, at
the start of each dialogue participants were asked through the first
questionnaire to identify “the most important needs and problems in your
community”. As expected, these were numerous and wide-ranging. In addition,
problems were very often couched in similar ways as needs. This allowed use of
the same broad categories to categorize needs and problems. The categories
used are: Basic/Substantive, Community Governance, and General

In the responses to the questionnaire, the similarity of the language in
which community needs and problems were couched suggested that
participants were making causal connections between them, that the problems
identified were key causes of unmet need. This was confirmed by the
amplifications made by participants in the small group discussions that
followed completion of the questionnaire.

Together, then, the responses to the questionnaire as well as notes taken of
the small group discussions were used to develop a fuller picture of participants’
views, which is presented below as ‘Overview of Community Needs and
Problems’. Obviously, some needs and problems do not fall neatly into one
category. Judgements were therefore made as to category that best captured
their urgency or prominence. Also, some seemed worthy of special mention and
in the ‘Overview’ below are presented separately from ‘well known’ ones as
‘noteworthy’. The possible need for re-categorization or category refinement is
acknowledged but what follows tells the general story.

A broad outline of the story is indicated by Table 17 below, which,
unsurprisingly, shows that vast majority of participants identified basic or
substantive needs and problems as the most important. A fuller account
appears in the Overview box that follows and where, as much as possible, the
words of participants are used, with occasional clarifications included in
brackets.


Table 17:
Community Needs and Problems Most identified
as Most Important
NEEDS
PROBLEMS
No.
%
87

Basic/Substantive 94
89%
87
84%
Community Governance
9
9%
8
8%
General
3
3%
9
9%





24

OVERVIEW OF COMMUNITY NEEDS AND PROBLEMS

Basic/Substantive
Well known:
Income, employment, food, health, housing, education and
training, sanitation, electricity, transport, lack of markets,
access to credit; telecommunications.

Noteworthy
Special needs of outlying islands; access to and distribution
Needs:
of funds; family support, care for the aged, the disabled and
youth, resources in times of natural disaster; destitution,
reproductive health, human rights (including women’s and
worker’s rights), civic virtue.
Noteworthy
Barriers to trade, lack of micro financing schemes and project
problems
work [for] villages, no savings culture; management of cultural

fishing rights, child abuse; HIV-AIDS, drug abuse; lack
of community facilities, e.g., community halls.


Community Governance
Well known:
Better planning, greater efficiency; greater community
recognition of its members, especially marginal groups,
[inadequate links between] villages and provinces,
environmental problems, especially from logging.

Noteworthy:

Greater inclusion of the community in national decision-
needs
making; more visits from government and NGOs.

Noteworthy
Poor leadership, lack of transparency and lack of honesty [at
problems
community and national level], land disputes, church tax,

waste management, law and order, inefficient Town and City
Councils.


General
Well known:
Greater self-reliance; more tolerance, especially of marginal
Groups, sport and sport facilities.


Noteworthy
:
Hold a regional youth congress on leadership, minimise
needs
negative impacts of the media, [need more effective ways to
cope with] the speed of change, stronger community identity;
[greater responsiveness to] community aspirations; [better]
morality.

Noteworthy

Cultural mentality; laziness/Pacific Way; lack of motivation,
problems
dependency, culture of silence over sexuality; lack of
motivation, powerlessness of youth, including unemployment
and urban drift because village life is boring and isolated,
peer pressure, globalization.


25
Much of this confirms what was already known. Particularly significant was
the confirmation, especially in the small group discussions, of the view that
community problems and unmet needs were largely due to government, with self-
interest, corruption, bureaucratic red tape, and lack of responsiveness,
accountability and transparency featuring prominently as particular causes.
Against this, the evidence presented above of the high level of confidence in the
capacity of regionalism to help communities, as well as the high expectation that it
will, makes better sense. The critical question, therefore is: how well placed is this
strong and unmistakeable sense of hope? Only time will tell but there is some
indication of what participants think the priorities of regionalism should be, as well
as the organizational changes needed. A hint lies in other responses to the first
questionnaire but stronger evidence emerged in the small group discussions.


Participants were asked to identify and rank what they saw as “the most
important issues facing regional co-operation in the Pacific Islands”. Most
identified at least three; fewer identified more. To get an overall picture, the issues
were categorized under three headings: Substantive, Institutional Efficacy, and
Other.

Of the participants who identified up to three issues, around 45% identified
substantive issues, 30% other issues, and 25% issues relating to the efficacy of
regional organizations. The last of these is telling, for if regionalism in the future is
to respond effectively to the hope that the community appears to place on it, then
the evidence from the study suggests that, despite their positive assessment of the
performance of regional organizations, a large proportion of Pacific Islanders think
that there is room for improvement. The kinds of improvement, along with key
examples of important substantive and other issues, are shown in the following
box .


MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING THE REGION

SUBSTANTIVE

Well Known Employment, health, education and training, cost of living, transport,
communications, tourism, political stability, law and order, security,
nuclear waste, external migration, environment.

Noteworthy Democracy, labour mobility, trade, fisheries, drugs, food security,
climate monitoring and warning systems, food security, information
technology, child abuse, human rights, social justice.


INSTITUTIONAL EFFICACY

Well Known Lack of knowledge/awareness of regional organizations and
processes,
better planning and monitoring, greater inclusion of community,
governance of regional organizations.



26


Noteworthy Elite bias in regional co-operation, lack of awareness of community at
regional level, devolution of regional co-operation to civil society
[where appropriate].

OTHER

Well Known
Availability and distribution of regional assistance, globalization and
external dependency, big power dominance and respect for Pacific
cultures and traditions, marginality, information technology.

Noteworthy Poverty, corruption, tolerance, laziness/ ‘Pacific Way’, speed of
change, indigenous issues, leadership/government as obstacle,
sports.



Especially against the perceived need for greater institutional efficacy, the
central issue that the study set out to investigate took on heightened significance.
As the dialogues unfolded, a strong consensus increasingly surfaced that enhanced
community engagement with regionalism is both desired and necessary. The
question is how?





27
IV TOWARDS GREATER COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT


Identifying community needs and problems was easy; harder were
strategies to address them; hardest of all were strategies at the regional level. This
was evident in the session around the question “How do we get involved more
effectively in regional co-operation?” This was probably the most difficult session,
despite the inclusion of possible forms of engagement in the guide prepared for
the small group discussions. Evidence of this was the paucity of ideas in response
to the guiding statement “Other suggestions I would like to make…” Nevertheless,
after much deliberation and with care consciously taken to minimize the risk of
leading participants in particular directions, views did emerge, at times strongly.



KEY REQUIREMENTS

From the discussions emerged three key requirements for more effective
community engagement emerge.
1.
regularised and institutionalised (as opposed to ad hoc and
informal) engagement;
2.
maximum/optimal inclusiveness, facilitated by appropriate
eligibility criteria and taking into account representativeness,
capacity to engage, and resource constraints; and
3.
the “need for governments to open up and strengthen
communications internally if people are to benefit from
regionalism”.

FORMS OF ENGAGEMENT



Direct Engagement


Participants were unanimous and strong in their desire for more effective
community engagement in regionalism. On possible modes of engagement, one
suggestion was for community representatives to engage directly with regional
organizations. The point was made that some already do and more could.


Engagement through Regional Representatives

Another was to engage through representatives of national association of
community groups or through regional umbrella organizations. Resource
constraints and organizational difficulties were seen as major obstacles and
assistance was widely felt to be necessary.


Engagement through Regional Liaison Units

A third was the formation of ‘regional liaison units’ through which the
community could work. This received strong support. The general sentiment was
that this would vastly improve the dissemination of regional information, “short
circuit” bureaucratic red tap, and serve as a “one-stop shop” for accessing regional


28
assistance. Less clear were the specifics around the formation and authority of
such units.

Should there be liaison units for each regional organization or for CROP
agencies collectively? Where would they be located? The strong preference was for
a unit in each country. What would their authority be? A view strongly expressed in
Solomon Islands was that the units be empowered to manage regional assistance
for community projects independently of government.


For the purposes of the study, the details around the idea of regional liaison
units are less important than what it suggests about the bigger issue of regional
connectedness. It sharply crystallizes the wider desire for greater and more
effective community engagement in regionalism, the particular suggestion that
regional liaison units be based in each country reinforcing the powerful impact of
physical presence that the highly positive assessment of USP suggested.



Other forms of engagement

Many supported the idea of engagement through a Pacific parliament, the
case for it succinctly captured by one participant:

We could have direct election of reps on to a Pacific
Parliament. We have local elections, national elections- why
not regional elections?

It would help foster accountability, transparency, and provide an avenue for
popular dialogue separate from that of the nation. Also supported was
engagement through a Regional Ombudsman. Other ideas later emerged in the
discussions around the question “How can we help our government to implement
the Pacific Plan?”










29
IV THE PACIFIC PLAN: WHAT HOPE?


The Plan was explained to participants and for many that was their first
exposure to it. Consequently it was not surprising that compared to other discussions,
the discussion on the Plan was less substantial and fluid. Nevertheless, views were
expressed and, again, these are presented here as much as possible in the words of
the participants. To facilitate discussion, the small groups were asked to consider the
following:

• Do we understand the issues covered in the Pacific Plan?
• Do we agree with the issue covered in the Pacific Plan?
• Other issues we think should be in the Pacific Plan are…..

At various times in the course of the dialogues, including before discussions of the
Pacific Plan, the following points were made:


development is primarily a national responsibility;

the aim of regionalism is to assist efforts at the national level;

the benefits of regionalism do not always come in the form of tangible
assistance; and

there is a need to be clear and realistic about what regionalism can
achieve.


REACTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS

The discussions were wide-ranging, cutting back and forth across many issues,
but several points are worth highlighting.
First, there was a clear wish to be involved. In the words of two participants:

We feel disconnected from the Plan. We are ready and willing
to be involved in the Plan. We will learn from the experience.

The Pacific Plan is proclaimed as a People’s Plan but [it]
needs more consultation with people than with governments.


Second, there was concern about the “complementarities” between it and
national development plans.

Third, especially strong in Fiji and Solomon Islands was a concern with
governance, peace and security, as illustrated by the following comments:
• Link Pacific Plan to Biketawa and Nasonini Declarations and Forum’s
Principles of Good Leadership
• Establish Regional Ombudsman and a Regional Leadership Code
Commission
• Provide for enforcement of conventions, human rights, democracy &
good governance; list enforcement procedures.
• Law and order, peace and security – priority!!



30
Fourth, the long wish for inclusion in the Plan reflects in varying degrees:
• sectional or special interest,
• the predominant focus on day-to-day concerns,
• ignorance of the Plan, and
• lack of appreciation of the benefits that can realistically be expected of
the Plan and regionalism generally.

The following suggestions are illustrative and headed by especially noteworthy ones:

Establish a regional sports academy
Develop a register and exchange programme of regional expertise,
including of retirees
Have a regional youth congress on leadership
Introduce leadership into school and tertiary curriculum

• Why are Australia and New Zealand excluded from the Plan?
• Key is Australia & New Zealand: need initiatives on labour mobility, goods
and services for the larger economies.
• What will be the social and environmental impacts and costs of the Plan?
• Issues are soft, need to demonstrate real economic benefit.
• Need to state where benefits are and how they will be delivered. But doing
nothing not a solution.
• Economic issues need to be highest priority.
• Current list of economic activities do not necessarily guarantee growth.
• Labour mobility.
• Review trade agreements (SPARTECA not mentioned in PP).
• Review SPARTECA rules of origin.
• Extend trade arrangements beyond the region.
• Raise quarantine standards to Australian and New Zealand standards.
• Raise regional infrastructure to international standards and make affordable.
• Help minority and marginalised groups (aged, disabled, sexual orientation,
people living with Aids).
• Re-examine commitments under WTO TRIPS, especially in relation to general
Drugs.
• Need regional programme/project to strengthen local forestry enterprises.
• Establish regional programme on social safety nets.
• Rights of the Child.
• Address tax regimes; indirect tax a burden for the poor and low paid.
• Adopt a regional living wage policy (MDG).
• Produce a regional concessions card to help the poor.
• Cost of living needs addressing (mark-up on goods too high).
• Poverty reduction is about the poor. Need for a regional study to identify the
poor.
• Occupational health- greater access for aged and disabled.





31
ASSISTING IN NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION

To emphasize the point that the national implementation was the key to the
success of the Plan, participants were asked how they could assist their government
in that task. Two general points about the suggestions are notable.

1. They all have to do with a partnership between government and the
community; as one participant captured it, “Let the community do some of the
implementing.”

2. They see community involvement as vital for greater acceptance and
legitimacy of the Plan in the community. Again in the words of one participant:
“impress on government the need for grassroots support”.

Two specific suggestions are especially noteworthy:

1. Share NGO data with governments. Some more up to date than government
data.


2. We can help in disseminating information on the Pacific Plan



MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Participants were also asked if they wanted to be involved in the monitoring
and evaluation of the Pacific Plan and, if so, how? The overwhelming response was
‘yes” and there was a consensus on “how”. These are captured by the following
comments.

Communities want to be engaged in monitoring and evaluating processes.

NGOs need ability to check on governments at regional level- see how they
respond & implement the Pacific Plan.

Monitoring and evaluation a sign of commitment. If done professionally it is
accepted and valuable. Will help generate community acceptance of Plan
(including Forsec’s evaluation).


Community to check on national implementation of the Plan.

Form independent committee/task force, to include government and CSO
representatives, in each FIC to monitor Pacific Plan

The national implementation report to include community views and
recommendations.






32
What does all this point to? Despite misgivings, the indications are that the
community wants to be involved in the Pacific Plan; is willing to assist in its
implementation, and has practical suggestions on how; and attaches special
importance to monitoring and evaluation, in which it especially wants to be involved.
There clearly is a sense of hope that the Pacific Plan will be community-friendly and
will deliver benefits. It may well be misplaced, for the argument can be made that it is
grounded on (1) incomplete knowledge of the Pacific Plan and the Pacific Plan
process; and (2) an inadequate appreciation of what the Plan can reasonably be
expected to deliver.

Much the same case can be made of regionalism generally. The critical
question therefore is this: what, if anything, can be done about it?’ The short answer
is a great deal, and the challenge may not be as daunting as many might suppose.
From the dialogues have emerged ideas about what can be done, some of which are
later recommended for adoption. Of these, raising awareness, generally
strengthening the sense of regional connectedness, and more effective community
engagement in regionalism are critical. Running through all this is the vital need for
education, which the project findings confirm.





33
VI PROSPECTS

At the end of the dialogues a second questionnaire was administered, the
intention was to gauge any change that might have occurred as well as allow
participants to evaluate the dialogues. Overall, the results suggest in a preliminary
way that the dialogues may well have had an impact on participants’ sense of
regional connectedness.


The sense of regional attachment (caring about regionalism) remained roughly
the same but the strong sense of regional utility was now more evident, with an
additional 12% (an increase from 31% to 43%) now believing in the utility of
regionalism (that it improves the lives of Pacific Islanders). (See Table 18.)



Table 18:
Before and After: Regional Attachment and Regional Utility

Regional Attachment:
Regional Utility:
“Pacific Islanders don’t
“Regional organizations do
care about regional
not improves live of Pacific
organizations”
Islanders”

Before After Before After
Disagree &


Strongly
25% 26% 31%
43%
Disagree



Slightly Agree 17% 23% 23%
27%

Agree &


Strongly
58% 51% 46%
30%
Agree



Regional expectation was high at the start of the dialogues; by the end it was
even higher. Earlier, 97% of participants agreed that regionalism “can improve” their
lives and 95% their community. Both figures increased to 99%. Similarly, 88% initially
believed that regionalism “will improve” their lives and 87% their community. Those
figures increased to 96% and 91% respectively. More telling was the large proportion
of participants who earlier said they did not know but later agreed: 85% later agreed
that regionalism could improve their lives as well as their community; 51% that it
would improve their lives; and 94% that it would improve their community. These
higher levels of confidence and expectation might have been due in part to the
dramatic improvement in regional knowledge.



34
As Table 19 shows, 64% of participants said their knowledge of regional issues
had improved “a lot” or “quite a lot”; 75% said their knowledge of regional
organizations had similarly improved; and 59% had their knowledge of regional
governance a lot.

Table 19: Improvement in Regional Knowledge: Before and After Dialogues


Improved a little/ Not very much Improved a lot/

very little
improvement
quite a lot

Knowledge of:
Regional Issues
14% 22% 64%

Regional
9%
16%
75%
Organizations




Regional
12%
29%
59%
Governance



These before-and-after comparisons point to the power of quality education
and awareness-raising strategies and the need for long term ones. At issue here are
not short-term improvements but deep and lasting ones. The results of the study also
suggest the need for targeted approaches, and they point particularly to youth as both
key primary targets as well as key catalysts for change.






35
VII RECOMMENDATIONS

To strengthen regional affinity:
• Develop a Regional News Service.
• Establish a Regional Sports Academy.
• Hold a Regional Youth Congress on Leadership.
• Develop a Regional Register and Exchange Programme of Regional Experts
(including retirees).
• Provide stronger support for community theatre.

For greater community engagement with regional organizations:

• Broaden the eligibility criteria for the Forum Secretariat’s Framework for
Engagement with Non-State Actors.
• Accord the community same recognition given the private sector.
• Help communities to form regional associations.
• Explore the establishment of Regional Liaison Units based in Forum Island
Countries.
• Work towards a Pacific Parliament with direct community representation.

To improve knowledge and awareness of regionalism:

• Embed Regional Studies at USP and strengthen linkages between USP and
other CROP agencies through
a. the establishment of a CROP Chair in Regional Studies, and
b. by instituting an Annual Forum Lecture series on Regionalism.
• Develop and introduce a High School curriculum on regionalism.


To strengthen the Pacific Plan

• Use the Pacific Plan to secure better enforcement of human rights standards,
especially in relation to the Rights of the Child and CEDAW.
• Include community representatives in national implementation, monitoring
and evaluation of the Pacific Plan.
• Where appropriate, make greater use of NGO data.
• Make greater use of community organizations to disseminate information on
the Pacific Plan.




36
VIII POSTSCRIPT

Earlier versions of the draft Pacific Plan included an Implementation Strategy
that identified possible initiatives to be undertaken along three timelines: over 3, 5
and 10 years. Later the Implementation Strategy focused on initiatives for the first 3
years, and the broad assessment that now follows relates to the draft Pacific Plan as
at 11 July 2005.

The overall finding is that, in general, the views and aspirations of participants
are strongly reflected in Plan’s proposed initiatives both on substantive issues as well
as ways to engage the community more effectively in regionalism.

It appears that many of the substantive suggestions made by participants
were also made by others in the course of the numerous consultations undertaken by
the Pacific Plan Task Force. Such a meeting of minds is encouraging; even more
encouraging is that many of the suggestions were included in the Pacific Plan, as the
following extracts from the Pacific Plan show.

Integrate trade in services, including temporary movement of labour,
into the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the
Economic Partnerships Agreement (EPA).


Harmonise approaches in the health sector under the Samoa
Commitment including: implementing the HIV/AIDS and STI Strategy;
a stronger focus on non-communicable diseases; and agreement on

health worker recruitment.

Harmonise approaches in the education sector..

Investigate the potential for expanding regional technical and
vocational education training (TVET) programmes…

Deliver specific studies and scholarships on regionalism, pro-poor
economic growth, peace and conflict, traditional structures,
leadership, gender-specific indicators, and cultural policy to support

regional cooperation and integration.

Enhance advocacy for and coordination of youth programmes and
monitoring of the status of youth, and establish volunteer schemes
and other forms of regional exchanges and sharing of services and
expertise for regional capacity building.


Enhance regional sporting networks to support the developmental
role of sport.

Create a regional sporting institute.

Develop a strategy to maintain and strengthen Pacific cultural
identity.


37

Support the regional consolidation of commitments to key institutions
such as audit and ombudsman offices, leadership codes, anti-
corruption institutions and departments of attorneys general…


Support the Forum Principles of Good Leadership and Accountability.

Enhance multi-disciplinary regional governance mechanisms,
including in resource management; and in the harmonisation of
traditional and modern values and structures.


Ratify and implement rights-based international and regional
conventions and agreements; and support meeting reporting and
other requirements.


Develop a mechanism to review the list of initiatives approved by
leaders and identify issues, gaps, organisational and resource
synergies…


Create a regional team to provide advice on business-friendly
regulatory reform, including collateral, access to credit, and
enforcement of contracts.


Increase the levels of market support funds and/or examine
alternative financing facilities for, e.g., joint ventures and micro-
finance training.

Create a Pacific Disabled People’s Association (PDPA), to promote the
Biwako Millennium Framework.

Provide specialised support for the implementation of the Convention
on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women
(CEDAW)…


Integrate Pacific rugby into the International Rugby Board (IRB).

Expand the role of the Pacific Parliamentary Assembly for Population
and Development (PPAPD), including regular constitutional review.

Create a Forum Parliamentary Assembly by enlarging Forum
Presiding Officers’ Conference (FPOC).

Create a Pacific Human Rights Charter…

Integrate regional commitments into national policies, planning and
resourcing.

Adopt regionally integrated planning systems for the equitable
consideration of economic, social and environmental elements from
the community to the national level.



38

Develop a strategy to support participatory democracy and
consultative decision-making (including NSAs, youth, women and
disabled), and electoral process.



The Plan’s key initiatives to enhance community engagement in regionalism
include the following:

Create mechanisms to engage Non-State Actors (NSAs) (including the
private sector) in sustainability initiatives.

Support private sector mechanisms including through the Regional
Private Sector Organisation (RPSO).

Strengthen processes for national and regional Non-State Actors
(NSAs), particularly through current mechanisms, to encourage
implementation partnerships, disseminate information and
harmonise work programmes..


Build capacity of regional NSAs for advocacy and programme delivery.

Provide NSAs with observer status at Forum meetings.

Establish a NSAs liaison mechanism at PIFS, for example to support
monitoring and evaluation processes.

The last of these has already been implemented and may well be a first
step towards participants’ preference for NSA liaison units/officers to be
based in each FIC. Whether that eventuates will depend on many factors,
including the effectiveness with which community advocates make the case
for this form of engagement with regionalism. Other forms are indicated by
the other initiatives listed above or may emerge in the future.

That the Pacific Plan has picked up on community concerns and
aspirations articulated in the dialogues is encouraging. So too is the greater
knowledge of regionalism in the community that the dialogues generated.
The hope is that these outcomes will catalyze a greater sense of
connectedness with regionalism as well as broader and deeper community
engagement with it.










39

APPENDIX A:
PROFILE OF SAMPLE


FIJI SAMOA SOLOMON
TOTAL
ISLANDS
SEX




Male
25
16
35
76 (67%)
Female
23
9
6
38 (33%)
TOTAL



114 (100%)





TRADITIONAL
11
11
5
36
LEADERS





AGE




Under 21 years
2


2 ( 2%)
21-30 years
13
4
24
41 (37%)
31-40 years
6
5
10
21 (19%)
41-50 years
5
8
6
19 (17%)
Over 50 years
19
8
1
28 (25%)
TOTAL



111 (100%)





EMPLOYMENT




Student
4

27
31 (27%)
Public Sector
16
10
2
20 (24%)
Private Sector

2
1
3 ( 3%)
NGO
14

1
15 (13%)
Unemployed

1

9 ( 9%)
Self Employed
6
3
1
10 ( 9%)
Retired
7
5

12 (11%)
Other
1
3
1
5 ( 4%)
TOTAL


113





EDUCATION




Primary
1

1
2 ( 2%)
Secondary
22
12
12
46 (40%)
Technical/Vocational
7
1
20
28 (25%)
University
18
12
8
38 (33%)
TOTAL



114 (100%)





INCOME LEVEL




No Income
14
10
19
43 (40%)
Very Low
9
6
7
22 (21%)
Low
5

1
6 ( 6%)
Middle
6

2
8 ( 8%)
Upper Middle
3
5
2
10 ( 9%)
High
7
4
6
17 (16%)
Total


112

(100%)
RESIDENCE




Capital City
18
6
24
48 (43%)
Town
18


18 (16%)
Village
11
18
17
46 (41%)
TOTAL


112

(100%)



40


APPENDIX B:
DIALOGUE PROGRAMME


A Civil Society Dialogue on
Strengthening Regional Co-operation Through
Enhanced Engagement with Civil Society


DAY 1
OUR NEEDS

8.30-9am
WELCOME

9-10am OVERVIEW

10-10.30am
Morning Tea

10.30-11.30
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS 1
Us and Our Needs

11.30-12.30
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS 2
Our Communities in Development

12.30-1.30pm Lunch


1.30-2.30pm
PLENARY
Report Back on Small Group Discussions

2.30-3.30pm
PLENARY
The Pacific Plan

3.30-4pm
Afternoon
Tea

4-4.30

PLENARY
Preparing for Tomorrow’s Discussion










41
DAY 2:
IMPROVING OUR LIVES
through
REGIONAL CO-OPERATION
and
THE PACIFIC PLAN

8.30-9am
PLENARY
Today’s Tasks
9-10am

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS 3
The Pacific Plan

10-10.30am
Morning Tea


10.30-11am
PLENARY
Getting ourselves organized for more
effective involvement in regional co-operation


11-12.30pm
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS 4
How can we get more effectively involved
in regional co-operation?


12.30 – 1.30pm Lunch

1.30-2.30pm
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSIONS 5
How can we assist in implementing the
Pacific Plan?


2.30-3.30pm
PLENARY

Report back on Small Group Discussions

3.30-4pm
Afternoon
Tea

4-4.30pm
Plenary



Conclusion and Thanks


42
APPENDIX C
GUIDING QUESTIONS FOR SMALL GROUP
DISCUSSIONS (SGD)

SGD 1: ‘Us and Our Needs’
Me and my community:

Who are we?
Me and my community:

What do we do?
Me and my community:

What do we need?
Me and my community

What are our problems?


SGD 2: ‘Our Communities in Development’
Our communities:


Do we have/need a NATIONAL association?
Our communities:


Do we have/need a REGIONAL association?
Our communities:


We can better co-operate among ourselves
NATIONALLY by…
Our communities:


We can better co-operate among ourselves
REGIONALLY by…….

SGD 3: The Pacific Plan
Do we UNDERSTAND the issues covered in the Pacific Plan?
Do we AGREE WITH the issues covered in the Pacific Plan?
OTHER ISSUES we think should be in the Pacific Plan are……


SGD 4: Getting ourselves organized
Do we have/need National Associations? Do we need help for these?
Do we have/need Regional Associations? Do we need help for these?

How do we get involved more effectively in regional co-operation?
By working directly with regional organizations?
By working through our Government?
How can this be improved?
By forming NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS and working through them?
By forming REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS and working through them?
By working through a Community Liaison Officer in each regional
organization?
Other suggestions I would like to make….


SGD 5: How can we help our Government to implement the Pacific Plan?
We can help our Government in the SHORT TERM by…..
We can help our Government in the MEDIUM TERM by…..
We can help our Government in the LONG TERM by…..
Monitoring and evaluation of progress under the Pacific Plan.
Do we want to be involved in this? How?


43
APPENDIX D
PARTICIPANT EVALUATION OF DIALOGUES





No.
%
Excellent
59 59%
Very Good
29 29%
Good
10 10%
Not Very Good
2
2%







APPENDIX E
TEAM MEMBERS



The team was led by Professor Robbie Robertson, Director of Development Studies in
PIAS-DG, the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

The project leader was Dr William Sutherland from the Australian National University,
Canberra, Australia.

The other team members were:

Dr Malakai Koloamatangi from the National Centre for Research on Europe,
University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, and
Dr Tarcisius Kabutaulaka from the Pacific Islands Development Program,
Honolulu, Hawaii.



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