Press Statement - The first meeting of the Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC) for 2009 convenes 31 March-1 April at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji.

Top of agenda will be progress on the implementation of the Bulk Procurement of Petroleum Initiative, addressing key regional transport challenges and the implementation of the Leaders' 2008 Decisions on the Regional Institutional Framework.

Also to be tabled will be the 2009 Six-monthly Pacific Plan Progress Report which focuses on the implementation of the Forum Leaders' 2008 Niue Decisions.

"The PPAC has come to fill a very important role. It is now a standing committee of Forum officials assessing and advising Forum Leaders on ways to better enhance and strengthen regional cooperation and integration through the framework of the Pacific Plan," says Forum Secretary General, Tuiloma Neroni Slade.

Involving all Heads of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), the PPAC is the only mechanism in the region which draws together all Forum Members and CROP agencies around one table with the aim of identifying solutions to the common challenges faced across the Pacific.

"The PPAC over the last three years has worked to harmonise and align all high-level Forum processes to the annual Forum Leaders' meeting and subsequent communiqué," adds Secretary General Slade. "This has greatly assisted in directing recourses to areas of need and minimising the duplication of how and where responses are implemented."

The Pacific Plan, endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2005, is an attempt to consolidate a group of responses to the ongoing challenges facing the Pacific as a region.

PPAC is chaired by the Forum Chair. It convenes twice yearly with the first meeting focusing on monitoring and evaluation and the second on developing policy recommendations for the consideration of Forum Leaders which are presented at their annual meeting.