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
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.