More resources and better coordinated approach needed to address culture sector, says former Tuvalu PM

Former Prime Minister of Tuvalu Bikenibeu Paeniu has called for a more coordinated approach to address the culture sector at the national and regional level.

Mr Paeniu, Tuvalu's national consultant for culture mapping, planning and policy (CMPP), was among other national consultants who gave presentations on their countries' progress in the CMPP process at a sub-regional workshop held at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in Suva, Fiji Islands 23-24 May 2011.

He noted that the meeting made clear 'the value of culture and its importance.'

'And of course, we need resources for capacity building and the passage of national culture policies,' he continued.

Six countries (Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu) are currently working on developing cultural policies under the European Union-funded Structuring the Cultural Sector for Improved Human Development project, implemented by SPC's Human Development Programme.

The two-day workshop provided a chance for national consultants and culture focal points to review the CMPP process in each of the six countries.

It also gave the participants, including representatives from Fiji Islands, the opportunity to exchange best practices and strategies to overcome challenges, and to discuss implementation plans for their cultural policies. The national consultant for Palau, Ann Singeo, noted that the countries still had time to polish their culture policies, and that participants would be able to bring home some of the ideas that had been put on the table at the workshop and present them to their colleagues to be adopted or adapted to the local context.

The workshop was facilitated by Pacific culture specialist Dr Katerina Teaiwa with the support of Frank Hegerty (SPC/Secretariat of the Pacific Board for Educational Assessment), a specialist in policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. It was designed to provide countries with skills and knowledge on how to effectively develop and implement cultural policy, an area of key importance for the culturally rich and diverse Pacific region.