Pacific Leadership “fono” form green growth coalition

06 June 2012 | News story

A group of senior Pacific figures met for three days at the Inter Continental Fiji Resort, in Natadola, on 29th May to 1st June, to shape a new Green Growth Leadership Coalition to help address some of the key development challenges facing the Pacific Island Region. 

The newly formed Green Growth Leadership Coalition will work with leaders in the Pacific Island Region and provide mentoring, support and guidance on issues of critical importance for a more sustainable development model.

“Green growth has to be at the core of our solutions to climate change, in this region and globally,” said His Excellency President Anote Tong of Kiribati in his opening address of the ‘fono’ (a Tongan word referring to a gathering of leaders to discuss, reflect and provide guidance on critical issues). “We need a Pacific Way to define and achieve green growth”.

His Excellency urged Pacific leaders to refocus on showing the solutions and ingenuity of the Pacific, not just the challenges. “We know what our problems are! We need to put our solutions on the table, demonstrate where the global community can connect with us, on our terms. We need to set the agenda not just for Government, but to allow for civil society and the church to mobilise.”

Facilitated by IUCN and key partners, and supported by the Pacific Leadership Programme, leaders at the ‘fono’ were able discern and share their challenges from their perspective as Pacific Islanders, as individuals, but also as representatives of Pacific peoples: their values and their cultures. The group used talanoa, a process that created a space for open discussion, and deliberated on the key characteristics of leadership, and the challenges that can trap and isolate leaders, dilute their convictions and their effectiveness. Through talanoa the core group took ownership of the outcomes of the dialogue and committed to follow-up activities to create and nurture a regional Green Growth Leadership Coalition.

“Green growth is about putting social and environmental values back into economic development,” noted Taholo Kami, Regional Director for IUCN Oceania. “We want the world to better understand the value of the Pacific Islands region as a global good, and our people to transition from a focus on vulnerability.

The Green Growth Leadership Coalition will support countries, and regional bodies such as the Melanesian Spearhead Group, to prepare and deliver on Green Growth targets and commitments, such as in the mining and fisheries sectors.”

Green growth will also be the focus of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Brazil later this month (‘Rio + 20’). It is hoped that the Green Growth Leadership Coalition will help countries in the Pacific Island Region to internalize and adopt new policies and strategies that will achieve lasting development outcomes.

For more information contact: Mr. Fe’iloakitau Kaho Tevi, IUCN Oceania Green Growth Consultant, e-kaliopasi@gmail.com