Non-State Actors Contribution Vital for PACER Plus

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By Pita Ligaiula

The Chief Trade Adviser for the Pacific says the involvement of Non-State Actors (NSAs) is important for the successful conclusion of the PACER plus negotiation.
Dr Edwini Kessie says NSAs ensure a fair and balanced agreement.

Emele DuituturagaExecutive Director of the Pacific Islands Association of Non-Governmental Organisation (PIANGO) Emele Duituturaga speaking at the Fifth Non-State Actors Dialogue in Nadi, Fiji

He said the dialogue at the weekend provided an opportunity for civil society and private sector representatives to discuss the contents of the PACER Plus Agreement currently being negotiated amongst Forum members.

“We believe that NSAs are an important constituency, they are the voice of the people.  And for the CSO they are also very important in that they bring a different perspective which enables us to take into account the important issues of interest to the ordinary people.”

“The NGO’s are very important, they have a different voice, they want to ensure a fair and balanced agreement and we welcome their views that’s why we having this meeting to hear from them and accordingly we would take into account whatever they say in the design of the rules,” Dr Kessie said.

He said the role of the private sector is also important in the formulation of trade policy and the implementation of PACER Plus.

“We also have the private sector because once PACER PLUS is concluded, the private sector which would have to make use of the agreement to expand opportunities in the Pacific, create jobs which would lead to enhanced living standards,” Dr Kessie said.

Shiu Raj, Officer-In-Charge for PACER plus at the Pacific Islands Forum, says the NSA dialogue is a deliberate attempt to ensure negotiators take into account those concerns raised and make adjustments to the negotiations that is currently being undertaken.

“This particular dialogue has been sequenced in a manner to allow for input towards the negotiations this week. So the discussions that are happening at the Fifth NSA dialogue is going to feed into the negotiations that will take place today.

And it is with the very deliberate intention to make sure that any concerns that are being raised are taken into consideration as the negotiators progress the finalisation in due course of the PACER plus agreement,” said Raj.