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Organisation critical of regional initiative

Repeka Nasiko
Saturday, June 21, 2014

THE Pacific Conference of Churches believes that a green regional economic platform will not bring about fundamental transformations needed to change and improve Pacific development initiatives.

In a statement released a day before the start of the Second Summit for the Pacific Islands Development Forum, PCC general secretary Reverend Francois Pihaate said without fundamental changes to people's appreciation of well-being meant the pursuit of a green economy model would not guarantee the kind of development people in the region needed.

"The espoused green economy approach to development has well documented shortcomings and risks, a key concern being that it fails to move beyond 'growth-centered' development — this is business as usual," Mr Pihaate said.

"The PIDF was founded in part on the solidarity among members of its predecessor entity — the Engaging with Pacific Leaders Meeting — in support of the principles of a Rethinking Oceania (RO) concept note by the Pacific Conference of Churches."

The church explained that at the centre of the Rethinking Oceania concept was an initiative to rethink key aspects of Pacific society, including governance, development, environment, security, social cohesion.

"If the PIDF is to be true to the spirit of solidarity around the RO concept that was presented, then it must, out of necessity and a sense of duty to future generations, undertake a comprehensive rethinking of our developmental frameworks.

"Transformation, as demanded by Christ in the Christian scriptures, is a conversion to God's vision of compassion, justice, peace and a turning away from the values of empire, most prominently seen in the 'endless growth model of development' and 'more is better' rationale."

He said of concern was that the path taken by the forum put it at risk of being little more than a shifting of reliance of regional countries on one group of patrons to another.

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