[Documents menu]History of Oceania as a whole
Message-ID: <35EDD413.6956@tu-bs.de>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 1998 01:26:11 +0200
From: Norbert BRAumann <N.BRAumann@tu-bs.de>
Organization: Technical University Braunschweig (Germany)
To: Bougainville Info eXcerpts <N.BRAumann@tu-bs.de>
Subject: [BougI-xL Guardian] Fourth NGO Parallel Forum Communique

Fourth NGO Parallel Forum Communique: The Pacific Way

From The Guardian, (Australia)
2 September 1998

The Fourth NGO Parallel Forum brought together representatives of community groups, churches and indigenous peoples organisations from around the Pacific. It was held from August 14-17, in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, the week before the official South Pacific Forum Heads of Government meeting.

Participants came from the Federated States of Micronesia; Republic of the Marshall Islands; Guam; Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas; Ka Pae'aina (Hawai'i); Papua New Guinea; Bougainville; Solomon Islands; Vanuatu; Republic of the Fiji Islands; Kingdom of Tonga; Cook Islands; Te Ao Maohi (French Polynesia); Australia (indigenous and non-indigenous); Aotearoa (New Zealand); East Timor; Philippines; First Nations Canada; Japan; United States of America.

It was organised by the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre (PCRC), and hosted at the Micronesian Seminar by the Federation of Non-Government Organisations in FSM, and the FSM Women's Associations Network (FSMWAN).

The following is the communique (abridged) issued by the NGO Forum:

Twenty years ago, the second Nuclear Free Pacific and Independent Pacific Movement Conference met in Pohnpei.

They discussed: the protection of our Pacific environment; developing our communities; respecting the right of self-determination for indigenous peoples; and struggles for independence by colonised Pacific peoples.

Some of those representatives later became Prime Ministers, Heads of State and prominent community leaders in the region.

Twenty years on, non-government and community groups are meeting again in Pohnpei at the Fourth NGO Parallel Forum, to set forward our visions and concerns. The issues raised in 1978 are still on our agenda today.

Economic development

The theme of this year's South Pacific Forum highlights economic issues. Economics should be about people. Economic development must work to support the things we value most: our land and waters, our health and education, our culture and values, our children's future.

In 1971, the first South Pacific Forum meeting of Pacific Heads of Government agreed on a vision of an integrated Pacific, which was based on common values unique to Pacific island countries. This vision was termed the Pacific Way.

This vision has been confronted by the political and economic interests of Australia, New Zealand and other major economic powers, who have attempted to derail its realisation.

This was shown with the results of the July 1998 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM). The Forum's Economic Action Plan is based on narrow economic models which take little or no account of the central importance of systems of customary land tenure or the traditional "subsistence" economy for Pacific peoples.

IMF Structural Adjustment Programs and the APEC Non-Binding Investment Principles are not a sound basis for Pacific island development.

Despite two decades of political independence, our economies are still based on the exploitation of our people, labour and natural resources, with no respect for traditional economies.

We are being caught up in a fundamentally flawed model that takes little account of the diversity or strengths of island societies.

The current economic models endorsed in the FEMM communique represent a form of colonialism based on exploitation:

  • which demands privatisation and promotes individualism in societies that are essentially communal;
  • which puts profits before people;
  • which values competition instead of co-operation;
  • which defines "progress" in terms of GDP rather than health, education and quality of life.
We therefore call upon Forum Island governments to revive their original vision of the Pacific Way:
  • We support increased trade between Forum Island countries through Bilateral Trade Agreements which can build a web of relationships leading to healthy integration in our region. We support co-operation among Forum Island countries, but co-operation without domination by imposed economic models.
  • We view with caution the FEMM initiative which calls for a free trade agreement between Forum Island countries, as we fear it may not be based on mutual respect, fair trade and appropriate environmental standards.
  • We call on Forum countries and international donors to implement the "/" concept endorsed by the 1995 UN World Summit on Social Development, to increase spending on health, education and the social sector, and to ensure that progress on implementing this target be monitored.

Nuclear Free Pacific

We are totally committed to a Pacific that is free of all nuclear activities. We are strongly opposed to the transhipment of plutonium and high level nuclear waste through our Pacific Ocean, and ongoing threats to dump nuclear waste in our islands.

There are many actions that can be taken:

  • We call on the Forum to develop a regional strategy to effectively oppose all aspects of the nuclear cycle in our region.
  • We call on the Forum to convene a conference to review, amend and strengthen the Rarotonga Treaty for a South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone, involving Forum member governments, the nuclear powers, special experts and non-government and community representatives.
  • We urge the Forum to press France for further studies and ongoing monitoring of Moruroa, Fangataufa and neighbouring atolls after the end of nuclear testing, especially looking at health and environmental issues.
  • We call on the Forum to use the Post Forum dialogue to press the nuclear powers to fulfil their obligations under the SPNFZ Treaty and Waigani Convention protocols and respect the sovereignty of Pacific Island States.
  • We call on Forum Island countries to acknowledge the economic difficulties facing the Marshall Islands, to support its efforts to find development alternatives without relying on the nuclear waste trade. The nuclear and toxic waste trade must not be a private sector growth area for the region.
  • We ask Forum Island countries to tell Australia not to mine uranium at Jabiluka in the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, against the wishes of Aboriginal landowners.


As we move towards the end of the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism, many Pacific peoples are still seeking the right to self-determination, sovereignty and independence.

In the past, the South Pacific Forum actively supported colonised countries to gain their independence. Forum members must continue to take a leadership role in the decolonisation of the region. We therefore state:

  • Bougainville must remain on the Forum agenda. We acknowledge the current peace process and endorse the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville, and the Regional Neutral Peace Monitoring Group under the auspices of the South Pacific Forum, involving monitors from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu.

    The process of peace and reconciliation needs ongoing involvement by Forum member countries to maintain the current ceasefire. We urge the formation of the Bougainville Reconciliation Government, as part of the democratic process to self-determination and independence for the people of Bougainville.

  • We call on Forum governments to support the UN Decolonisation Committee's stand-alone resolution on Guam at this year's debate at the UN General Assembly.
  • We ask Forum governments to accept the petitions from countries around the region and internationally, which call on the Forum to include French-occupied Polynesia on its agenda.

    As with New Caledonia, we urge the Forum to send a Special Mission to French Polynesia to learn more about recent developments, and to initiate the reinscription of French Polynesia on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories.

  • We call on Forum governments to recognise the Kanaka Maoli people's right to self-determination, and to include Ka Pae'aina (Hawai'i) on the Forum agenda... [and] support the reinscription of Ka Pae'aina (Hawai'i) on the UN list of non-self-governing territories.
  • We call on the Forum to take the cue from the Melanesian Spearhead Group and put West Papua on its agenda, with a view to re-examining decolonisation as well as human rights and environmental abuses.
  • Forum members should actively support United Nations and European Union initiatives for East Timorese self-determination, including release of all political prisoners, withdrawal of Indonesian military forces and support for direct East Timorese participation in negotiations on the future of the country.

Human Rights

Despite 50 years of action since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the violation of human rights continues in East Timor, West Papua, Bougainville, and other countries in the Pacific.

There are other denials of fundamental rights in our region 97 the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples over their resources are under direct threat by bio-pirates, pharmaceutical companies, mining and logging companies and foreign fishing fleets. Therefore:

  • We welcome initiatives by Forum members to establish national Human Rights Commissions. The Forum should support these important initiatives and reaffirm the international principles that human rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable.
  • We call on Forum members to speed up the process of ratification and implementation of CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on Biological Diversity and other international instruments relating to human rights and indigenous peoples rights.

    The Forum Secretariat should develop gender policy in consultation with regional and women's NGOs, with the view to establishing a Forum Secretariat Women's Division.

  • We ask Forum members to endorse and implement the principles of the UN Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • We call on Forum Island countries to lobby in support of the right to self-determination for indigenous peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia, the Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and the Kanaka Maoli of Ka Pae'aina (Hawai'i). The international human rights agenda includes the collective rights of indigenous peoples in our region.
  • We call on Forum Island countries to oppose the extinguishment of Aboriginal bloodline rights to land, law and custom under the Native Title Act and 10-Point Plan in Australia.
  • We urge Forum Island countries to lobby in support of Aboriginal efforts to bring a court case to the International Court of Justice, regarding the Convention on the Prevention of Genocide, disputing Australia's interpretation, application and fulfillment of the Genocide Convention.
  • We call on the Forum to develop a regional strategy to protect intellectual property rights. . .and traditional knowledge of indigenous communities.

    Indigenous peoples are struggling every day to protect their resources and knowledge, and we urge member governments to develop national legislation to halt the theft of natural resources and heritage (from kava to medicinal plants, and even to the level of genetic material under the Human Genome Project).

This public article was forwarded by NOBBY <N.BRAumann@tu-bs.de>. Mail subscriptions to me with subjects: "subscribe BougI-[x?]L" or "change to ..-[x?]L" <your_eMail-adr>. [BougI-xL] is the eXcerpt of [BougI-L].
[World History Archives] [Gateway to World History] [Images from World History] [Hartford Web Publishing]