First CROP ICT WG Meeting for 2017

The first meeting of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group (WG) for 2017 was held at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus on 20 February 2017.

The CROP ICT WG is responsible for coordinating the different tasks undertaken by various players in the key areas in ICT. This ensures that all players in ICT are aware what each one is doing and communicate on a regular basis to ensure that there are maximum benefits to the region in all the key areas. It also addresses the needs of the region in a consistent and planned manner.

The meeting was attended by representatives from Australia, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO); Pacific Islands Communications Association (PITA); Pacific Power Association (PPA); South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO); Vodafone; and USP. The Asian Development Bank (ADB); New Zealand; Small Island States (SIS) represented by Cook Islands; South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP); and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) attended via video conference.

The Chair of the Working Group, Professor Rajesh Chandra welcomed members to the meeting, especially new members including representatives from JICA, and SIS being represented by Cook Islands in 2017.

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42nd CROP confirms regional coordination in support of the Pacifics 2017 priorities

Honiara, Solomon Islands: “The Pacific’s regional institutions support the region’s priorities in 2017, and are already working together on a number of key initiatives,” said the Heads of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies following their 42nd CROP meeting at the Forum Fisheries Agency headquarters in Honiara this week.

The Council reiterated its full support for the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and confirmed coordination amongst CROP’s member agencies on a number of key regional initiatives identified by Pacific Island Forum Leaders in 2016. This includes support to the Pacific’s preparation for the UN Conference on Implementing SDG 14 on Oceans in June 2017, which is co-hosted by Fiji and Sweden.

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PIC diplomats briefed on USP developments

The University of the South Pacific (USP) held its second briefing session with the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) diplomats, based in Fiji on 18 November 2016.

Its main purpose was to brief the diplomats on the outcomes of the 83rd USP Council Meeting; progress towards implementation of the USP Strategic Plan (2013-2018); update them on USP’s role in European Development Fund (EDF) 11 Pacific Regional Indicative Programme; Regional ICT Initiative and strengthened CROP ICT Working Group; and to discuss USP’s plans for its 50th Anniversary celebrations and how PICs can be actively engaged in marking this important event.

Diplomats who attended the briefing included Her Excellency Mrs Litia Mawi, Fiji’s Roving Ambassador to the Pacific; H.E. Ms Kim Aroi, Nauru High Commissioner, Nauru High Commission; H.E Mr John Patteson Oti, Solomon Islands High Commissioner; Solomon Islands High Commission; Mr Albon Ishoda, Minister Counsellor / Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI); Mr Wilson Waguk, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Federated States of Micronesia (FSM); Ms Lorainne Taulima, First Secretary, Tuvalu High Commission; and Mr Vilikesa Naivalucava, Principal Foreign Service Officer, Roving Ambassador to the Pacific Division.

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Leaders’ Decision on Regional ICT Initiative

The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have realised that the regional Information and Communications Technology (ICT) initiative has been progressed to a level that Leaders oversight is not required any more.

This was confirmed during the 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia in September 2016.

This understanding comes in light of the expansion of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) ICT Working Group, to include more members in the group.

The decision to expand the group comes following the review of the CROP Working Group Mechanism in 2015 and the Leaders choosing regional ICT as one of their key initiatives under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.

The new members are: Asian Development Bank, World Bank, Australia and New Zealand government representatives, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation, Vodafone, Digicel, Territories of the region, International Telecommunication Union, Civil Society Organisation, member country representation through the Forum Troika and Small Island States (SIS), and other CROP agencies. An invitation to Japan International Cooperation Agency has also been extended to become part of the Working Group.

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