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By Pita Ligaiula in Nairobi, Kenya
The Pacific Civil Society group has successfully removed itself from the ‘Asia Pacific tag’ to become a separate group on its own.
Speaking to PACNEWS in Nairobi, Pacific Islands of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) Executive director, Emele Duituturaga said traditionally the Pacific has always been considered to be part of the Asia Pacific region.
“And this is something that civil society of the Pacific has always raised as a policy issue, that the issues of the Pacific are very different from Asia.
“Couple of years ago, the Pacific made representation at the world level, about the need to separate the Pacific from Asia and it wasn’t until last year that it happened. So today at this global assembly for the very first time, the Pacific delegation had a separate’ Pacific identity’- separate from Asia, so that is something civil society has won.
“To this day even at the UN, the Pacific still considered to be part of Asia but in the civil society world we have successfully separated the Pacific as a separate region from Asia,” Duituturaga told PACNEWS.
Duituturaga said with Fiji expecting to host the International Civil Society week in 2017, the move will certainly boost the Pacific profile at the world stage.
“We are fully anticipating and we are waiting for the official confirmation from Civicus that the Pacific again for the first time will be hosting the International Civil Society week which has been taking place annually around the world.
“For us as the Pacific it is part of trying to establish itself yet again. The Pacific is considered to be too far, too expensive and also our issues are really not considered at the global stage.
“So by bringing this international meeting that happens only once a year to the Pacific and specifically to Fiji it will certainly boost the Pacific profile. It will certainly help the rest of the world have a better understanding of the issues of the small island states, it will certainly give recognition to the Pacific.
“A lot of NGO and civil society in the Pacific don’t get much profile from donors and also from larger countries, so it will be a unique and once in a lifetime opportunity for CSOs in the Pacific to actually hold an international civil society gathering,” Duituturaga told PACNEWS.
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