The Pre-Forum session of the Forum Official Committee (FOC) which is meeting in Suva, Fiji will discuss a positioning paper on issues concerning the long term sustainable funding and resources of the Forum Secretariat.

FOC is the governing council of the Secretariat and its pre-forum session is to set the agenda for the Forum Leaders meeting.

When presenting a report on the Forum Secretariat's activities in the past year, Acting Secretary General Feleti Teo told members the year has been a very busy one with a number of challenges confronting the Secretariat.

"It is obvious that the demands on the Secretariat are increasing every year. However, as FOC knows too well there has not been any increase in the membership fees in the last 12 years," Mr Teo said.

"The Secretariat will be tabling a positioning paper at this session of FOC to initiate discussions on issues pertaining to the long term sustainable funding and resources basis for the Secretariat."

Mr Teo explained: " The paper proposes among other things that to avoid the continuation of the presently unsustainable situation that the Secretariat faces with respect to member contributions not keeping pace with rising costs and increases in scope two mechanisms for review and adjustment are needed. This includes an annual inflations adjustment based on a regional index and a three yearly review and rebasing of the budget line items capturing any structure changes to the regular budget."

Mr Teo said the paper will be requesting the FOC meeting to appoint a sub-committee comprised of Suva-based members to consider the issues raised in the paper, consult with all members, and to prepare a recommendation to be adopted out-of-session before the end of September.

As at 17 June of this year outstanding members' contributions to the Forum Secretariat amounted to FJ$920,390.00