Secretariat of the Pacific Community

Secretariat of the Pacific Community

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community, or SPC (sometimes Pacific Community), is a regional intergovernmental organisation whose membership includes both nations and territories. It aims to "develop the technical, professional, scientific, research, planning and management capability of Pacific Island people and directly provide information and advice, to enable them to make informed decisions about their future development and well-being." [ [ "Vision and Mission of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community"] , retrieved 16 August 2008.] The SPC headquarters is in Nouméa, New Caledonia.


SPC was founded in 1947 as the South Pacific Commission by six developed countries with an interest in the region:

*flag|New Zealand
*flag|United Kingdom
*flag|United States|1912

For reasons either of reduced development interest in the Pacific Islands region or a desire to concentrate assistance in other areas of greater poverty, two founding members have since withdrawn from the SPC: the Netherlands (1962-) and the United Kingdom (1995-98 and 2005-).

SPC's founding charter is the Canberra Agreement. [cite web|url=|title=CONSOLIDATION OF AGREED PROVISIONS AND PRACTICES RELATING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT AND OPERATION OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC COMMISSION, INCLUDING THE CANBERRA AGREEMENT OF 1947 AS AMENDED|last=The Governments of Australia, the French Republic, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America|date=August 1984 (Fourth edition)|work=Australian Treaty Series 1948 No. 15|publisher=Australian Government Publishing Service|language=en-GB|accessdate=2008-08-11] The fourth edition of the document hosted on the Secretariat of the Pacific Community web site.] [cite web|url=|title=Agreement establishing the South Pacific Commission (Canberra, 6 February 1947)|last=The Governments of Australia, the France, New Zealand the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America|date=August 1984 (First edition)|work=Australian Treaty Series 1948 No. 15|publisher=Australian Government Publishing Service|language=en-GB|accessdate=2008-08-11 The first edition document hosted on the Australasian Legal Information Instituteweb site.] In the aftermath of World War II, the six colonial powers which created the SPC, the first such regional body, intended it primarily to secure Western political and military interests in the postwar Pacific. [cite web|url=|title=The Pacific Region, 1944-2000: The Islands, 1946-2000: 1947|last=Stearns, Editor, et al.|first=Peter N.|date=June 2002|work=The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern||language=en-US|accessdate=2008-08-13 A licensed reproduction of cite book|title=The Pacific Region, 1944-2000: The Islands, 1946-2000: 1947|editor=Peter N. Stearns, et al.|publisher=Houghton Mifflen Company|location=Boston|date=2001|series=The Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern|pages=pages=xxvii, 1243p.; maps; 25 cm.|chapter=H, 1, 1947|isbn=0-39565-237-5|accessdate=2008-08-13|language=en-US] [cite web|url=|title=Secretariat of the Pacific Community|date=2008|work=Encyclopædia Britannica Online|publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica|language=en-US|accessdate=2008-08-16 Supports SPC's formation "to advise on economic, social, health matters affecting the South Pacific Island territories..." ] [cite web|url=|title=South Pacific Commission: History, aims, and activities|last=South Pacific Commission|date=1988|work=Pacific Islands Internet Resources|publisher=Michael R. Ogden, PhD|language=en-GB|accessdate=2008-08-16 "The establishment of the Commission was a response by the then colonial powers to assure the economic and social stability of the Island countries and avoid a repeat of the World War II experience by creating mechanisms for meaningful relations among governments." In other words, the SPC fosters regional socio-economic stability and it provides a channel for intergovernmental relations. Regional stability and intergovernmental relations serve not only the people who live in the Pacific, but they also ultimately serve the military and political interests of the Western countries which helped found it.]

From the start, SPC's role was constrained, and the invitation from Australia and New Zealand to the USA, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom to participate in a South Seas Commission Conference in 1947 included the statement that "the [South Pacific] Commission to be set up should not be empowered to deal in any way with political matters or questions of defense or security" [cite book|title=Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 2007-09-18|editor=A.H. McLintock, Editor|date=originally published 1966|series=International Relations: The South Pacific Commission|isbn=978-0-478-18451-8|url=|accessdate=2008-08-16|language=en-GB "From the outset political and security matters were excluded from consideration; the proposed Commission was to act in a consultative capacity on questions of welfare of the peoples in the area and social and economic development."] This constraint on discussion (particularly the constraint on discussing nuclear weapons testing in the region) led, eventually, to the creation of the South Pacific Forum (now "Pacific Islands Forum"), which not only excluded the more distant "metropolitan" powers of France, UK and USA, but also their Pacific Island territories.


Today, the SPC's role has expanded in service to its community. The SPC work-area includes the following Pacific island countries and territories, which since 1983 have been full members:

Apart from Tonga, these were all territories of the original founder members of SPC, but most are now independent. Dutch New Guinea, formerly represented in the SPC by the Netherlands, was annexed into Indonesia in 1969 and is no longer represented in the SPC.

SPC today is the oldest and largest organization in the 10-member Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP), a consultative process that is headed at the political level by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Since the hand-over of co-ordination of regional political issues from the SPC Conference to the South Pacific Forum in the 1970s, SPC has concentrated on providing technical, advisory, statistical and information support to its member governments and administrations, particularly in areas where small island states lack the wherewithal to maintain purely national cadres of expertise, or in areas where regional co-operation or interaction is necessary.

SPC was the first CROP organization to be headed by a woman, Lourdes Pangelinan of Guam who left the organization end of January 2006. Dr Jimmie Rodgers is the organization's current Director-General.

SPC programmes and services

SPC’s technical programmes are co-ordinated under three divisions, Land Resources, Marine Resources, and Social Resources:

Land Resources Division

The Land Resources Division, which is based in Suva, comprises two programmes – sustainable management of forest and agriculture systems, and biosecurity and trade facilitation. It provides advice, expertise, technical support and training to members on all aspects of agriculture and forestry, including:

* plant health
* animal health
* biosecurity and trade
* forest and agriculture diversification
* crop production
* animal production
* genetic resources
* information, communication and extension
* forest and trees

Marine Resources Division

This division includes coastal, oceanic fisheries and maritime programmes. [cite web|url=|title=Marine Resources Division|last=Secretariat of the Pacific Community|work=Secretariat of the Pacific Community web site|publisher=Secretariat of the Pacific Community|language=en-US, fra|accessdate=2008-08-11]

The Coastal and Oceanic Fisheries Programmes

These programmes of the SPC:
* assist Pacific Island fishing communities to participate in and benefit from regional and national fisheries development and management activities
* provide technical advice, assistance and training on developing small-to-medium-scale commercial tuna fisheries
* conduct research and monitoring of the region’s tuna and reef fisheries
* assist Pacific Island governments in providing an enabling environment for economically and ecologically sustainable aquaculture

The Maritime Programme

The Maritime Programme works with the maritime sector of member countries and territories to:
* review, update and implement maritime legislation (critical to compliance with international requirements)
* facilitate training to ensure that all seafarers meet international standards, which in turn promotes safer ships and cleaner seas, and helps to secure employment for Pacific Island seafarers

ocial Resources Division

This division covers a broad range of areas and includes the:
* Cultural Affairs Programme - support activities in the fields of conservation of cultural heritage, communication technologies, development of cultural industries and promotion of artistic creativity. A major thrust of this programme is the organisation of the Festival of Pacific Arts. [cite web|url=|title=RELATIONS WITH THE PACIFIC COMMUNITY AND DRAFT AGREEMENT|last=UNESCO|date=27 July 1998|publisher=United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization|language=en-GB|accessdate=2008-08-12 Though it refers to organizing the 2000 New Caledonia Festival of Pacific Arts and is dated, page two documents SPC involvement with Festival of Pacific Arts and other cultural initiatives.]
* Human Development Programme – provides community education, and supports policy making and analysis relating to culture, women and youth
* Public Health Programme – technical support and advice on non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease); communicable diseases (HIV/AIDS and STIs, tuberculosis); adolescent reproductive health; nutrition; physical activity; alcohol and tobacco control; public health surveillance
* Demography/Population and Statistics Programme – strengthens the capacity of national statistical systems to ensure the availability of accurate economic and social indicators to support evidence-based decision-making
* Media Production and Training – provides training to Pacific Islanders in radio, video, television, graphic design and desktop publishing, and produces the ‘Pacific Way’ television series

Programme Support Services

* Communication
* Information and Communication Technologies
* Library
* Planning Unit
* Publications and Printery
* Translation and Interpretation
* Corporate Services (finance, personnel, administrative, and property services)

SPC corporate values

* Priorities are set by SPC member countries and territories
* SPC takes a people-first approach, providing practical solutions to real problems
* SPC strives to provide excellent service
* SPC endeavours to make a positive difference in the lives of Pacific Islanders through development of skills
* SPC aims to alleviate absolute poverty, poverty of opportunity and vulnerability to poverty
* SPC strategically engages in providing options for responding to current and future opportunities and challenges
* SPC promotes gender, cultural and environmental sensitivity
* SPC operates with accountability and transparency

SPC Chief Executives

The following is a list of the Secretaries-General and Directors-General (the title of the Chief Executive was changed in 1997) of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (the name of the Organization was also changed in 1997, from South Pacific Commission):

*Mr William D. Forsyth (Australia) 1 November 1948 - 3 June 1951
*Sir Leslie Brian Freeston (UK) 12 November 1951 - 12 November 1954
*Dr Ralph Clairon Bedell (USA) 1 March 1955 - 28 February 1958
*Mr Thomas R. Smith (NZ) 1 March 1958 - 2 March 1963
*Mr William D. Forsyth (Australia) 24 March 1963 - 31 December 1966
*Sir Gawain Bell (UK) 1 January 1967 - 11 December 1969
*Afioga Afoafouvale Misimoa (W. Samoa) 1 January 1970 - 18 February 1971 (he died on official mission in Tarawa, Kiribati)
*Mr John E. de Young (USA) 18 February 1971 - 31 October 1971 (he was Programme Director: Social who acted in the interim period for the above)
*Hon. Gustav F.D. Betham (W. Samoa) 1 November 1971 - 30 November 1975
*Dr E. Maciu Salato (Fiji) 9 December 1975 - 30 June 1979
*Hon. M. Young Vivian (Niue) 1 July 1979 - 3 June 1982
*Mr Francis Bugotu, CBE (Solomon Is) 1 July 1982 - 30 November 1986
*Mr. Palauni M. Tuiasosopo (A. Samoa) 9 December 1986 - 31 December 1988 (stood down)
*Mr Jon Tikivanotau Jonassen (Cook Is) 1 January 1989 - 15 June 1989 (he was Director of Programmes acting in the interim)
*Mr Atanraoi Baiteke, OBE (Kiribati) 16 June 1989 - 5 January 1993
*M. Jacques Iékawé (New Caledonia) (SG designate but died on 10 March 1992 before assuming office)
*Ati George Sokomanu, MBE (Vanuatu) 6 January 1993 - 7 January 1996
*Dr Robert B. Dun (Australia) 8 January 1996 - 5 January 2000 (he restructured the organisation and changed the title of the Chief Executive from "Secretary-General" to "Director-General")
*Ms Lourdes T. Pangelinan (Guam) 6 January 2000 - 5 January 2006
*Dr Jimmie Rodgers (Solomon Islands) 6 January 2006 - present

See also

*Festival of Pacific Arts
*Pacific Islands Forum
*International organization


External links

* [ SPC official site]
* [ Documentation of formalizing relationship with United Nations]


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