Three years on, Pacific Island Countries continue to report progress on strengthened regional cooperation and integration as guided by the Pacific Plan.

This was highlighted in the 2008 Pacific Plan Annual Progress Report, released this week by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

The Pacific Plan was endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders at their annual meeting in October 2005 as the blueprint for regional development to enhance and stimulate economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security.

"While progress has been generally pleasing, it has varied with some Pacific Plan initiatives advancing further than others," said the Forum Secretariat's Acting Secretary General, Feleti Teo.

"Over the last three years, it has become clear that a number of areas require particular priority attention to better support the livelihoods of Pacific Island People."

These priority areas were recognised by Forum Leaders at their annual meeting held in Niue last month. They include food security, fisheries, energy, economic integration and trade, climate change, transport, information and communications technology, land, health, education and governance.

"The momentum provided through the annual prioritisation process has greatly focused the implementation of Pacific Plan initiatives by presenting clear direction and targets for members, regional agencies and development partners," added the Forum Secretariat's Executive Officer - Pacific Plan, Edward Vrkic.

"This direction continues to guide implementation and establishes a relationship to existing official and ministerial processes.

"In doing so, it ensures that work in key sectors such as fisheries, energy, trade and economics, is captured within broader ministerial frameworks.

"This has supported greater transparency and seen Forum Leaders more readily adopt whole-of-government approaches in responding to the region's problems."

As a 'living document' reviewed annually by Forum members, the Pacific Plan has become the entry point for discussions on greater regional cooperation and integration through a range of processes both at the regional and international levels driven by Forum members.

The Pacific Plan's first three-year review will be carried out early 2009.