On 6 February 1947, the governments of Australia, France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States of America signed the Canberra Agreement that established the South Pacific Commission, now called the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

Monday 6 February was SPC's 65th birthday.

SPC Director-General Dr Jimmie Rodgers said, 'SPC's 65th birthday is a milestone. SPC was founded by six countries, which at that time administered the non-self-governing territories in the Pacific. Their intention was to facilitate cooperation among the colonial governments in administering their territories. Since then, SPC has come a long way - our membership now comprises 22 Pacific Island countries and territories and four of the founding members - Australia, France, New Zealand and United States. Our work programme spans over 20 sectors including important cross-cutting priorities such as climate change, food security and gender. We assist our island members achieve their national development outcomes.'

This year marks another significant event: an independent external review to consider SPC in the context of its broader role in regional development. This review, which has already begun, entails examining SPC's core business and other important issues, such as general governance and organisational efficiency.

Over the past 65 years SPC's work has responded to the priorities of the members. Today, its work covers almost all the key economic, environmental and social sectors. These include natural resources (agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, forestry, water); human and social development (education, health, sanitation, culture, gender, youth and human rights), economic development (energy, ICT, infrastructure, transport); oceans and islands (coastal zone management, geological assessments, sea-bed mapping, maritime boundary delineation); cross-cutting areas (disaster risk reduction, statistics and demography, food security and climate change); and research, policy analysis and advice.

Dr Rodgers added, 'SPC will continue to work with and assist SPC member countries and territories to position themselves to respond effectively to the challenges they face and to make informed decisions about their future and that of the generations that follow.'