Pacific regionalism in health can’t work completely

Pacific Plan Review Panel representative Noumea Simi

Pacific Plan Review Panel representative Noumea Simi

by Lagi Keresoma

APIA: FRIDAY 5 JULY 2013: The Pacific can’t go it alone in combatting non-communicable diseases because regionalism can only work in parts.

That was a conclusion by the Pacific Plan Review Panel (PPRP).

A Pacific-only path or regionalism was discussed at the Tenth Pacific Islands Ministers of Health meeting this week here.

PPRP representative Mrs Noumea Simi highlighted the panel’s findings.

Because of shortcomings, like lack of funding, the Pacific has to look elsewhere for assistance most of the time.

There are “too many priorities and patchy implementation,” Mrs Simi said.

“There is a concern that the regional agenda is overloaded by donors, officials and regional organisations,” she said.

On the first day of the minister’s meeting, Niue’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Her Excellency Tauveve O’Love Jacobsen said it was high time Pacific people stood on their own feet.

Jacobsen said the Pacific should not be lumped together with Asia.

PPRP came up with this framework and vision for the success of Pacific regionalism:

  • Needs to be politically led, relevant, inclusive and value adding
  • Can cope with diversity
  • Accept differing pathways to development – recognising vulnerabilities and resilience in dealing with modernity
  • Be a robust public policy process rather than a plan
  • Can be manageable and managed
  • Improve governance and financing arrangements


As for vision, PPRP amongst other things, Pacific leaders should look at:

  • creating “paths to deeper integration” with others
  • “systematic changes which must include refreshed plans”
  • “changes to forum meeting to enable greater political direction of the process of building regionalism”
  • “Work with donors who are open, transparent and who trust regional process and – responsive to leaders’ direction and priorities”

PPRP also highlighted the importance for an “open and inclusive opportunities for all stakeholders.