Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni with participants at Vakaloa Beach Resort. Picture Credit: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications

May 26 2017-Coalition members and leaders of the Green Growth Leaders Coalition have been discussing important issues that affect the region in the past two days here in Tonga.

Challenged by Tonga’s Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni to think outside the box and find common solutions, the Coalition members have discussed issues that affect their own countries and shared how the others in the region could learn from those experiences.

The event is being held at the Tanoa Dateline International Hotel and the Vakaloa Beach Resort.

Hon Sovaleni and Samoa’s Minister of Communications & Information Technology ICT Hon Afamasaga Lepuia’i Rico Tupai are the two Cabinet Ministers at the Leaders’ Coalition Retreat.

They have been joined by the Most Reverend Dr Winston Halapua, Archbishop of Polynesia Anglican Church; Hon Mathew Wale, Chair, Constitution Review Committee, Solomon Islands Parliament ; Ambassador Kaliopate Tavola – Eminent Persons Group Melanesian Spearhead Group; Dame Carol Kidu Board Member Pacific Institute of Public Policy; Chris Cocker CEO South Pacific Tourism Organisation; Siale Ilolahi Head Civil Society Forum of Tonga; Paula Taumoepeau – Vice President Tonga Chamber of Commerce; Iosefa Maiava – Director UN ESCAP Pacific Regional Office; Drew Havea – Chair, Tonga National Leadership Development Forum; Fei Tevi – Political Affairs Officer Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat; Kevin Iro – Steering Committee Cook Islands National Marine Park ;Margaret Tabunakawai – Coordinator Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network; Taholo Kami – Sustainable Development Advisor and Pita Taufatofua – Youth Worker and Tonga’s Olympic Athlete.

The Green Growth Leaders Coalition (GGLC) Retreat provides a safe, reflective and inspirational space for GGLC leaders to discuss common challenges, seek collective advice, share strategies for change and connect with their peers in the region.

This is done with an underlying focus on supporting the introduction and implementation of green-blue growth and sustainability principles in countries and the region.

GGLC leaders include Heads of State, leaders of CROP and other regional agencies, plus politicians, business, civil society and religious leaders.

The Pacific Centre for Environmental Governance said in their introduction of the GGLC 2017 that all share a commitment to improving the economic, environmental, social and cultural prosperity of their countries and the region.

The annual GGLC Retreat is a private forum, based on a Pacific Talanoa approach to discussion combined with “Chatham House rules”, where what is said and shared by the group remains off the record and confidential, except when the group agrees otherwise.

It’s about open, inclusive conversation, the sharing of stories and lessons across the organisational, sectoral, national and political boundaries we usually operate within, inspiring others and being inspired, building friendships and networks and making linkages that will impact leaders as a person and also in their work.

The GGLC is convened by IUCN Oceania and supported by the Pacific Leadership Program, a regional initiative of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Issued by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications