Tokelau attends Forum Economic Ministers Meeting

Joe1@Forum7apr17-300 Suva, Fiji, 7 April 2017
Tokelau was represented at the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) this week as the region discussed the theme "Funding for Sustainable Development". Given prior commitments the Tokelau Minister of Finance, Faipule Siopili Perez, was unable to attend so the General Manager, Apia - Joe Suveinakama represented our Territory. 

Mr Suveinakama conveyed that despite Tokelau not being a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), it was useful for Tokelau to demonstrate its commitment to the leaders' Regionalism Framework. Given the volatility and vulnerability of economies it was important to work collaboratively and cooperatively on a regional approach, he said. Despite funding constraints we the smaller Islands find this engagement as both timely and useful. 

The engagement between FEMM with the Private Sector and Civil Society Organisations (CSO) is an eye opener. In Tokelau the landscape is quite different whereby the Private Sector and CSO are almost non-existent yet the functions are carried out by traditional institutions. He invited the Private sector, through the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, to travel to Tokelau for a scoping visit.
FEMM also discussed opportunities for new markets, harmonization of business practices and labour mobility. Funding modalities for natural disasters and other vulnerabilities were focused upon. The meeting was Chaired by Samoa's Minister of Finance - Hon Sili Epa Tuioti. Tuioti advised the meeting that discussions continued to strengthen south-south cooperation. He conveyed ongoing discussions between Samoa and Tokelau for capacity building through work attachments and other initiatives.

The meeting ended yesterday and Mr Suveinakama will be providing a full report to Council on possible strategies that Tokelau can work on, to connect local/national initiatives to the regional framework and the UN SDGs. The Samoa Pathway and other capacity and funding framework will be explored to ensure that everyone is working together. Funding will definitely be a key issue and we need to demonstrate commitment towards regional solidarity to improve quality of life of our people at community level.

Participants in the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM 2017) at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji. (PIFS photo)