PRESS STATEMENT - 31st July 2012 - A review of the Pacific Plan is expected to begin later this year.

Senior government officials from the region gathered today at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, as the Pacific Plan Action Committee (PPAC). PPAC reviews implementation of the Pacific Plan and provides high-level advice to Leaders on strengthening regional cooperation and integration.

PPAC will consider this week, among other things, a way forward for the review exercise for Pacific Islands Forum Leader's consideration at their summit in the Cook Islands next month.

"This is the time to review the Pacific Plan," said the Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade.

"The global and regional agenda is beginning to shift, and the Pacific Plan must remain relevant and contemporary to our situation of development."

"We have an ideal opportunity to take stock of changes to the regional and international development agenda and ensure that the Pacific Plan continues to represent our highest aspirations for regionalism."

Mr Slade added that in any review of the Pacific Plan, Forum Island Countries and their experience of regionalism are at the heart of the debate.

"This is a Plan that must be owned by the region, and that speaks on behalf of and for the region to express our unique challenges."

Mr Slade stressed that the Pacific Plan has provided a high-level framework to articulate the priorities for the Pacific region to the global community.

"It has encouraged a collaborative approach amongst Forum Island Countries, regional agencies, development partners, and non-state actors, to the common challenges facing us today - challenges which individual countries cannot tackle alone, but only through collective effort."

The PPAC meeting concludes tomorrow with the Committee forwarding its deliberations to the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting to be held in the Cook Islands next month.

PPAC meets as part of a series of regional officials' meetings being held this week at the Secretariat in preparation for the upcoming Forum Leaders' meeting. Other meetings include the Smaller Island States Officials Meeting, which concluded yesterday, and the Forum Officials Committee to convene from 2nd-3rd August.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders adopted the Pacific Plan at their annual summit in 2005 as the region's master strategy for regional cooperation and integration.

Leaders envisaged that the Pacific Plan would remain a 'living document' and be reviewed on a regular basis.