By LUKE KAMA – PAPUA New Guinea will take over the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) when the Leaders’ Summit begins tomorrow.
This follows a series of pre-summit meetings among senior officials over the weekend. PNG is taking over from the Solomon Islands.
MSG Secretariat director-general Amena Yauvoli thanked the Government for hosting the senior officials’ meeting and the leaders’ summit this week.
“We are grateful to the PNG Government for hosting the meetings here because this is a momentous occasion as we gather in the land where the name Melanesian Spearhead Group was coined in 1986 at Goroka in the Eastern Highlands,”
He said the MSG was founded as a political gathering. On March 23, 2007, members signed an agreement establishing the MSG and formalised the group under international law, with its headquarters in Port Vila, Vanuatu.“MSG is an inter-government organisation composed of the four Melanesian states – Fiji, PNG, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu,” he said.
“In June 2015, Indonesia was recognised as an associate member of the MSG.”
Yauvoli said the MSG was formed to promote economic growth among Melanesian countries.
It includes promoting and strengthening trade, exchange of Melanesian cultures, traditions, values and sovereign equality to foster economic and technical cooperation between the members.
It a so focuses on aligning member countries’ policies and furthering member’s shared goals of economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security. One of the key features of the MSG is the sub-regional preferential trade agreement to foster and accelerate economic development through trade relations.
It also provides a political framework for regular consultations and review on the status of the agreement, with a view to ensuring that trade is undertaken in a genuine spirit of Melanesian solidarity and is done on a most favoured-nation basis.
Yauvoli said the summit would also discuss the 2018 budget and the projected work programmes.