PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

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

 

POLYNESIAN LEADERS GROUP FORMED IN SAMOA
Regional sub-group is Samoa PM’s ‘Dream come true’

By Marieta Heidi Ilalio

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 20, 2011) – It’s official. The Polynesian Leaders Group (PLG) was formed in Samoa yesterday during a meeting of eight Polynesian countries. Held at the brand new Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi Building, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi chaired the meeting where the establishment of the sub-group was discussed.

In attendance were leaders from French Polynesia, Niue, Tokelau, Cook Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and American Samoa. Yesterday’s meeting discussed the importance of the PLG in providing a systematic approach to cooperation among Polynesian countries.

The idea is to develop, promote and protect common interests and objectives of the members and the Polynesia. Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the formation of the Polynesian Group is a dream come true.

"Today, a dream that was made five years ago came true, and eight countries of the Pacific are now confirmed as founding members of PLG," he said.

"This is where these countries will share knowledge and experiences in awareness and education to promote and protect cultures, traditions and languages."

The Prime Minister said the opportunity is also available to other countries in the Pacific who want to join.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by all the representatives.

American Samoa Governor, Togiola Tulafono, said the PLG is a special opportunity for their territory to have a bigger voice in sub-regional issues.

"I thank the Prime Minister of Samoa for this opportunity," he said.

The group from now on will hold annual meetings to receive reports and discuss cooperation activities between members in the course of the year. They will also address issues affecting membership and make decision on current and future activities.

Here is the outcome statement from the meeting:

  1. The first meeting of the Leaders and Representatives of Polynesian countries was held in Apia, Samoa on 17 November 2011 and was attended by the Prime Ministers of Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, the Governor of American Samoa, the Ulu o Tokelau and Special Envoys from the governments of Niue, Tuvalu, and Ma’ohi Nui-French Polynesia.
  2. The Leaders and representatives of Polynesian countries expressed their gratitude to the Prime Minister, the government and the people of Samoa for the arrangements made in hosting the first meeting of Leaders and Representatives of Polynesian countries and for the kind hospitality extended to them during their stay in Apia.

    The Polynesian Leaders and Representatives acknowledged the historical significance of the meeting to establish the Polynesian (PLG) sub-regional group and the importance of the PLG in providing a systematic approach to cooperation amongst Polynesian countries to develop, promote, and protect common interests and objectives of the members and Polynesia.
  3. The meeting agreed to and signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing the Polynesian sub-regional group. In so doing, the meeting confirmed the critical importance of Polynesian people and countries where cultures, traditions, and languages are valued, honoured and protected; and where sustainable economic prosperity is achieved, democratic values are observed and human rights promoted and protected.
  4. The meeting decided that through the PLG, members will work together in the spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation to:
    • Encourage sharing knowledge and experiences in awareness and education to promote and protect cultures, traditions and languages;
    • Encourage mutual support of development efforts in areas including but not limited to: transport, energy, environmental conservation, climate change, education, health, agriculture and fisheries, tourism, trade and investment;
    • Encourage respect for the quality of governance, observance of democratic values and human rights rule of law and right to self determination;
    • Encourage the strengthening of connections with institutions of regional and international cooperation.
  5. The meeting agreed that the founding members of the PLG are Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, American Samoa, French Polynesia/ Tahiti and Tokelau. The meeting further decided that a state, territory or indigenous Polynesian population may be invited to become a member or an observer by consensus decision of the founding members.
  6. The meeting agreed that the PLG would hold annual meetings to receive reports and discuss cooperation activities between members in the course of the year; address issues affecting membership and male decisions on current and future activities. Annual meetings of the PLG are to be held at the margins of the yearly Pacific Islands Forum Meeting or at such other time and place agreed to by the majority.
  7. The meeting decided that for the starting period a permanent secretariat will not be established. Instead the Chair in Office will provide the Secretariat for the PLG during facilitating the implementation of decisions of PLG and to disseminate information to members of cooperation activities and other information members wish to share.
  8. For the Chairmanship, the meeting decided that Samoa having taken up responsibility of chairing the first meeting of Leaders and representatives of Polynesian countries to establish the sub-regional group, will be the PLG Chair between now until the PLG annual meeting.
  9. The meeting decided that the first annual meeting of the PLG will be held in conjunction with the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting in Cook Islands in 2012.
  10. The meeting decided that the next Chair of the PLG will be Cook Islands and will take up duties of the chairmanship at the first annual meeting of the PLG.

Samoa Observer: www.samoaobserver.ws/
Copyright 2011 Samoa Observer. All Rights Reserved


Go back to Pacific Islands Report: Graphics or Text Only.