Non-State Actors (NSA) play a vital role in policy development and implementation across the Pacific region. Ensuring civil society and private sector organisations have the capacity to participate effectively is a priority for the Pacific Islands Forum.

This week NSA representatives from 15 Forum Island Countries have gathered in Suva to participate in a regional level capacity building programme designed to share and further develop technical skills and competencies in public policy engagement.

“NSAs throughout the Pacific region are representative of diverse constituencies and have a key role to play in regional policy making processes and implementation. In order to be in a position to participate and effectively engage with regional policy makers it is necessary for NSAs in the Pacific to have the requisite skills and knowledge in policy making and engagement,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

Neil Nuia, 26 years old of Development Services Exchange, Solomons found the 5 day workshop a valuable experience. “It has been intense but a good learning avenue. I have capitalised on my free time to speak one on one with the experts and seek clarifications and questions on certain issues. As an umbrella body in the Solomons, I have, through the course of the workshop, already identified gaps within our policies and look forward to going back and assisting in strengthening these policies based on the tools that I have learnt.”

The Programme for Strengthening Non-State Actors (NSA) Engagement in Regional Policy Development Implementation is funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS).

Speaking at the opening of the workshop at Victoria Palms Hotel, the Head of Cooperation at the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, Christoph Wagner said: ''The European Union has a long-standing cooperation with Civil Society Organisations and Non State Actors (NSA) in the Pacific. Non State Actors are essential for shaping development policies and processes and for anchoring them through broad-based democratic ownership. The European Union recognises that civil society organisations are essential in promoting democratic governance: Non State Actors also raise awareness about local and global development challenges and promote actions to respond to these. The EU is proud to support them.

Joint Press Release: EU / PIFS