[Monday 24th September 2012, Suva, FIJI] Pacific regional organisations are enhancing communications and visibility under the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT) Project.

The SPEITT Project provides European Union funding of ?30 million over the period 2011-2014 in support of regional trade integration in the Pacific.

A Communications and Visibility Workshop was held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat last week to engage regional organisations managing different components of the European Union-funded SPEITT Project.

"Communications and visibility initiatives are an integral part of the SPEITT arrangement and its components," explained Mr Shiu Raj, Director of Economic Governance Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Participants from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat shared their experiences and challenges in areas of communications, while aspiring to formulate complimentary communications strategies.

The four project components of SPEITT are the Pacific Integration & Technical Assistance Project (PITAP) with an allocation of ?8 million and implemented by the Forum Secretariat; Increasing Agriculture Commodity Trade Project (IACT) with an allocation of ?9 million and implemented by SPC; the Trade Facilitation in Customs Cooperation (TFCC) with an allocation of ?8 million implemented by OCO; and Pacific Regional Tourism Capacity Building Project (PRTCBP) with an allocation of ?5 million managed by SPTO.

The SPEITT project was formulated under the banner of Pacific Aid for Trade Strategy. Aid for Trade is development assistance designed to assist countries improve their ability to participate in global trade.

"Your work is essentially Aid for Trade in action and this workshop provides you the opportunity to suggest innovative and creative ways to improve the communications and visibility aspect of the work that we do in the region," said Mr Raj in welcoming workshop participants.

"We are seeking a coordinated approach in the way we handle the communications and visibility aspects of SPEITT and its components."

Mr Raj thanked the European Union for their funding assistance in support of SPEITT and its components. He also thanked the support team at the European Delegation in Suva for providing necessary support and advice to the implementing agencies.

SPEITT is funded by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF10) allocation for the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme under Focal Area One, that is, Regional Economic Integration.

Comments from workshop participants

"The workshop has given us room to create a master document of ideas, where we can cherry pick solutions for implementation in our programmes depending on budget, audience and resources for development and basically furthering our course as a regional organisation" - Rajan Sami, Information Assistant Officer - SPC

"Discussions generated at the workshop have given us some great ideas. We will now need to analyse our situations and use what we've learned today as benchmark to ensure advancement." - Petero Manufolau, Marketing Manager, SPTO

"Wonderful opportunity created for us as major Components of SPEITT. I'm keen to combine strategies & encourage experience-sharing for planning and moving forward together, rather than individually and separated; making use of each other's experience and specialties. Brainstorming of ideas was useful. It will be interesting to see implementation after this and using what we've learnt." - Pauline Benson, e-Marketing Specialist, SPTO

"Good initiative by PIFS for the four components of SPEITT. Personally I felt that I hadn't fully tapped into the usage of SPEITT, but after today, we're going to design strategies that will be comprehensive and inclusive in terms of communications and visibility. I'm glad I've personally gained experience in better drafting Communications & Visibility Strategies for my organisation" - Kelera Cavuilati, Tourism Investment Specialist, SPTO