In July 2012, the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat (MSG) signed a three-year memorandum of understanding to collaborate to deliver much-needed services and technical assistance to the people of Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
In November 2014, our two organisations renewed the agreement for a further three-year period until 2017 to boost development in the five Pacific nations and trigger action to address common priorities including youth employment, sanitation and fisheries management.
Other areas of collaboration include governance, shipping safety, forestry policy, sub-regional sea cucumber management and the promotion of healthy living and Melanesian culture.
Fiji, FLNKS, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are members of both Pacific intergovernmental organisations. They are the largest Pacific Island countries in terms of land area, population and Gross Domestic Product, yet face multiple pronounced, shared challenges.
Under the new agreement, we committed to sharing expertise and creating joint programmes to maximize the development outcomes and enhance the effectiveness of our work with, and for, our members and other partners as we tackle pressing issues facing the Pacific region. This partnership is coordinated by SPC’s Melanesia Regional Office.
The agreement has helped reduced the opportunity for duplication of effort in addressing major, shared challenges and improved the efficiency of expenditure.
The Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) came into being as a result of an informal meeting of Heads of Governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and a representative of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front (FLNKS) held in Goroka on 17 July 1986.
The leaders agreed at their inaugural meeting that it was important to have common positions and solidarity in spearheading regional issues of common interest, including the FLNKS cause for political independence in New Caledonia. The MSG has developed into a regional block with its own trade agreement. The agreement establishing the MSG was signed on 23 March 2007.