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Pacific Islands

New ‘Future Pasifika’ series to discuss big development issues

Suva, Fiji

Tongatapu coastline.

The big development issues facing the Pacific region will be debated in a new discussion series called ‘Future Pasifika’, with the first panel on healthy oceans set for July 15, broadcast worldwide from the University of the South Pacific Suva campus in partnership with the World Bank Group.

 In a joint statement today, USP and the World Bank Group, said Future Pasifika will feature thought leaders, activists, private sector representatives and youth leaders from the Pacific, with each hour-long event tackling a topic at the heart of the Pacific’s future, with the aim of generating debate and new ideas.

“The regional expertise of the University of the South Pacific, the global knowledge of the World Bank Group, and the energy of the Pacific’s youth and civil society groups are coming together to create an exciting opportunity for new perspectives and big ideas,” said Michel Kerf, World Bank Country Director for Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.  “We are delighted to be partnering with the University of the South Pacific to create a new forum for positive, informed and engaging discussion on major development opportunities and challenges facing the Pacific today.”

The inaugural Future Pasifika panel on healthy oceans will feature the founder of J. Hunter pearls and oceans advocate, Justin Hunter; Coordinator of the Pacific Network on Globalisation, Maureen Penjueli; University of the South Pacific Senior Lecturer in Marine Studies, Dr. Stuart Kininmonth; and Project Survival Pacific representative, Zakiyyah Ali.

The Healthy Oceans panel is the first of these forums to be hosted at USP

Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the South Pacific said it reaffirms USP's responsibility as an institution to provide platforms for policymakers, politicians, academics and industry experts to discuss key issues relating to the region.

Thomas Jacobs, IFC Country Manager for the Pacific said, “Healthy oceans are vital to the prosperity of Pacific communities and people...To ensure the sustainability of this vital resource for the Pacific, it’s important to hear the views of many parties, and also ensure the private sector has a role to play in crafting and delivering solutions to this issue.”

The launch of Future Pasifika follows the opening of the World Bank Group’s new office in Suva, Fiji. More World Bank Group staff based in the South Pacific region will also facilitate greater knowledge sharing between Pacific experts in sectors including disaster resilience, recovery and risk financing.

The July 15 Future Pasifika panel will be livestreamed to all USP campuses and online via World Bank Live, while the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will air the debate via their popular Big Ideas program at a later date. The panel will take place in front of a live audience, with questions invited from attendees and online viewers through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #FuturePasifika.