Pacific Update Conference 2018 to bring out expert policy opinion
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Hon. Mahendra Reddy, Minister of Waterways delivers the opening remarks at the 2018 Pacific Update Conference.
The Fijian Minister for Waterways, Honourable Mahendra Reddy officially opened the 2018 Pacific Update Conference at The University of the South Pacific (USP) on 5 July 2018 and highlighted that “the Conference is an excellent example of the link between research and policy thus contributing to better use of research findings for the ultimate benefit of the society.”
The two day Pacific Update Conference is a forum hosted by The Australian National University’s Development Policy Centre and USP’s School of Economics and is held at USP’s Japan-Pacific ICT Centre.
It is the premier forum for the discussion of important public policy issues in the region. This annual multidisciplinary conference gathers policymakers, academics and researchers, business people, and development practitioners to discuss economic, social, political, and environmental developments in the Pacific.
Hon. Reddy highlighted that it is important for governments to get an outside expert opinion on critical matters that will not only ensure that we make the most efficient use of state resources, but also to ensure that we navigate our country in the right direction to secure a brighter future for future generations of Pacific Islanders.
“The concerted deliberations through the gathering of policy makers, academics, researchers, private sector and public sector partners, business people and other development practitioners adds to the prestige of this Conference,” Hon.Reddy said.
Ms Amy Crago, Deputy Australia High Commissioner to Fiji and Tuvalu and Dr Giulio Paunga, USP Vice-President, Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure during their speeches at the opening of the 2018 Pacific Update Conference.
Hon. Reddy said that having been in academia in the past and now in the policy making arena, he has noted that often research follows policy making, however, it has be the other way around.
“Policy must be pegged on sound research. I do hope that in future, now that we have approved last year, for the establishment a National Research Council, we could engage more with academia to support policy making as I have said it is not only about optimal public sector resource use but more so about mapping the best path for future generations,” he added.
Hon. Reddy further highlighted that despite being the in driver’s seat for a reasonable period, the Pacific countries continue to face inequality and hardships amongst its population in varying levels.
“We need to join hands with all stakeholders in tackling these issues. Conferences of this nature which seeks to evaluate policies and research aimed at countering Pacific Island issues is highly instrumental,” he stated.
Ms Amy Crago, Australian High Commission’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji and Tuvalu said it was wonderful to see many top academics, policy makers and business people at the Conference to discuss the key policy challenges faced in the Pacific region.
Mr. Yogesh Karan; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Immigration, Ministry of Sugar and Ministry of Waterways; Professor Arvind Patel, Acting Dean, USP’s Faculty of Business and Economics; Her Excellency, Ms Amy Crago, Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji and Tuvalu, Australian High Commission; Honourable Mahendra Reddy, Fiji’s Minister of Waterways; Dr Giulio Paunga, USP’s Vice-President Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure; and Dr Neelesh Goundar, Head of USP’s Pacific Update team during the opening of the 2018 Pacific Update Conference.
She highlighted that the Australian Government is proud to support the conference through its Pacific Research Programme.
“It is one of a number of initiatives announced under Australia’s ‘Pacific Step-Up’ – our commitment to more ambitious and intensified engagement in the Pacific,” Ms Crago said.
She stated that under the Pacific Research Programme, Australia us providing FJ$30million over four years to support high-quality independent research to inform policy and programmes across the region.
Dr Giulio Paunga, USP’s Vice-President Regional Campuses and Estates and Infrastructure said the Conference will provide useful exchange of ideas and innovative research in areas such as climate change, urban development, health, gender, national economy, business development, energy and tourism.
“I encourage all participants to fully engage in discussions and expect that important findings get disseminated in the national development plans and strategies,” Dr Paunga said.
The Pacific Update Conference will conclude on 6 June and is open to the public.
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