Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat based in Suva, Fiji, is the administrative arm of the Pacific Islands Forum. It comprises 16 independent and self-governing states in the Pacific. The Forum is the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. Forum Leaders meet annually to develop collective responses to regional issues.

Under the governance of the Forum Officials Committee (FOC) the Forum Secretariat provides the coordination of the implementation of the Pacific Plan, a living document based on the four pillars of; economic growth, sustainable development, good governance, and security that comprise the road map to the vision.

EcoSTEPS has been working with the Forum Secretariat since 2008. This followed submission of a comprehensive EOI to undertake work on a range of inter-related projects as summarised below in an extract from the Secretary General's remarks in July 2009 to FOC in Suva.

Corporate reforms

With respect to the Secretariat’s corporate arrangements, members of the Committee will, of course, know that last year we started on a journey of institutional strengthening – a journey that will take some time to complete. The key platforms for these reforms were the completion of the 2008-2012 Corporate Plan and the four Programme Strategic Plans for 2009-2011, all of which were submitted for your endorsement. Strategic planning guidelines have been produced to ensure strategic planning practices become embedded in the Secretariat’s work and culture. Our focus from this year will be to ensure that the Secretariat has the appropriate systems to implement these plans. I am pleased to report that we are on track to improving Secretariat systems to serve this purpose.

Accounting systems

Essential reforms in the Secretariat’s accounting systems are being undertaken, improved services being set in place or now being developed. During last year, a new accounting system called Navision was installed. This system is now operational and the budgeting module in Navision has made possible and significantly improved the new formats of the Budget and Work Programme.

Risk Management

The Secretariat has also developed a new risk management policy with supporting guidelines. Senior management participated in a full day workshop to refine and adopt the policy and guidelines; and work has begun on the process of populating the risk management register. Senior management will complete the strategic risk assessment in the third quarter of this year. Steps to implement the formal operational risk assessment process will be taken at the same time.

To support the risk management framework, business continuity plans have been drafted. While these are still in the early phases of development, the work done so far provides a strong basis on which to build.

Monitoring and Reporting

Work continues with the development of a new monitoring and reporting framework. We presented some of our initial thinking at last years’ December FOC meeting. Since then we have reviewed the indicators and means of verification in the programme strategic plans; and we propose that these will be refined during the ‘review and refresh’ cycle which is now due.

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