Development progress in Niue, new areas of cooperation with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and preparations for major events scheduled for later this year were on the agenda for the SPC Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, during his visit to Niue.

Over the past week, Dr Tukuitonga met with the Secretary of Government, Richard Hipa, paid a courtesy visit to Cabinet and was briefed by a government Conference Task Force on progress with arrangements for the Conference of the Pacific Community that will take place in Niue for the first time in November 2015.

The biennial conference will be preceded by the Pacific Community’s annual Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations, with both events due to attract delegates from all 26 Pacific Community members.

“We discussed aspects that need to be agreed between Niue and SPC, including the themes and programmes for the two Pacific Community events, as well as accommodation, logistics and telecommunication, so that together we can make sure everything is in place before November,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

In terms of ongoing collaboration on development initiatives, Mr Hipa singled out the scientific advice from SPC to support conservation of the coconut crab in Niue as one current example.

“Cabinet has now placed a ban on the exportation of the coconut crab which is in place until further notice, that is until we do another survey with SPC, so that’s one significant undertaking that has happened,” Mr Hipa said.

Among the new SPC-supported initiatives coming to Niue in 2015 are organic farming for climate resilient food systems and plans to construct the island’s first tide gauge.NiueTaskForce

In readiness for the new tide gauge, the geodetic station in Niue was fully upgraded last year with technical support from SPC and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. (The geodetic station measures land movements just as the tide gauge, once it is in place, will continuously measure the rise and fall of the ocean over the course of a day).

“This week we’ve had some tentative discussions on priority areas for Niue where we might provide specific support, including youth unemployment and public health particularly on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart disease,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

A crew from The Pacific Way accompanied Dr Tukuitonga to Niue to film several segments that will go to air when the popular SPC-produced TV show resumes in April.

Niue boasts a population of around 1,600 people.  A snapshot of the development results SPC achieved jointly with the government and people of Niue is available in the SPC 2014 Country Programme Report.

Media contact: Lauren Robinson, The Pacific Way reporter, mailto:[email protected] +679 337 9250