Forum role to be filled in February

Wednesday 20 January 2021 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Forum role to be filled in February
The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor. Photo: RNZ / Jamie Tahana

The new head of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is expected to be appointed when regional leaders meet next month.

Pacific Islands Forum chair, the Prime Minister of Tuvalu Kausea Natano, says he is confident that they will appoint the new Secretary General when they meet in February.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, including Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown, will convene virtually in a Special Leaders Retreat next month. One of the agendas of the meeting will be finalising the Secretary General role. The position has been held by Dame Meg Taylor from Papua New Guinea since 2014. Her six -year term ends this month.

However, Dame Taylor will remain in the position until her successor is appointed, the Forum confirmed.

Cook Islands MP and former prime minister Henry Puna is one of the five candidates vying for this top Pacific Island position.

The other candidates are Marshall Islands’ ambassador to the US Gerald Zackios, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Tongan economist Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua and former head of the Pacific Community Jimmy Rodgers from Solomon Islands.

In an interview with Cook Islands News in October last year, Puna said challenges for the region resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic needs to be considered when deciding who will take over the top role.

“There is also a growing thinking that because the situation the region is in, and indeed the whole world, we need to look for the best possible candidate to fill that position,” he added.

Apart from the appointment of the next Secretary General, Forum chair Kausea Natano said the Special Leaders Retreat would also focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.