PIDC Board Meeting - Chairs SummaryPosted On: Wednesday, 26 October 2016
The 33rd Board meeting of the Pacific Immigration Director's Conference (PIDC), was convened in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 17 ? 19 October 2016 and attended by representatives from Republic of the Marshall Islands (Chair), New Zealand (Vice Chair) Australia (Donor), Cook Islands (Polynesia), Palau (Micronesia), Tuvalu (Small Island States) and Samoa (Host Country for Secretariat) with Vanuatu, the representative for Melanesia, unable to attend at the last minute due to circumstances beyond their control.
As the Board's first meeting since the Secretariat?s relocation from Fiji to Samoa in August 2016, the primary focus was to finalise remaining transition and policy document matters so that the organisation could begin resetting its focus to more strategic and outward looking issues to best position the organisation moving forward.
The meeting was opened with a prayer before the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Ms Tepaeru Herrmann welcomed Board Members to the Cook Islands for its first PIDC Board meeting for 2016/17. As host country for the Board meeting, Ms Hermann advised that Cook Islands was proud of its role and values its contribution and responsibilities to the organisation. Ms Hermann noted the Secretariat's successful transition to Samoa and acknowledged Samoa's commitment to hosting the PIDC Secretariat. The Secretary shared the challenges Cook Islands Immigration faced with 130,000 tourists entering a country with a population of 15,000 without immigration government policies. She noted that immigration was a key driver for economic growth and that the Cook Islands was looking forward to PIDC support for national immigration activities. The Secretary acknowledged the importance of labour to the region noting that labour was one of the five key issues that was recognised in the Small Island States Strategy and the need to address how we can assist each other in the Pacific.
Issues Considered by the Board
The Board welcomed the Secretariats report outlining its ongoing activities and its planned areas of work for 2016/17 noting the links to agreed PIDC objectives. The report highlighted a number of activities to build national capacity of PIDC Member administrations, enhance regional data collection and information sharing, and strengthen legislative and policy development. The Board welcomed the development of these programmes of work and encouraged the Secretariat to continually consult and collaborate with Members and other regional and international stakeholders to mobilise resources and support for the proposed activities.
PIDCs transition and relocation to samoa
Board Members welcomed the successful relocation of the Secretariat to Samoa and acknowledged in appreciation the support and commitment of Samoa (Host Country), Australia and New Zealand (Donors) and Board members in supporting the Secretariat during this transition and relocation period. The Board acknowledged the support provided by Fiji to the Secretariat when it was based in Suva and thanked Samoa for its assistance in providing PIDC with temporary office space during the renovation works on its new office. The Board strongly encouraged Members to continue supporting the Secretariat as it seeks to establish its presence in Samoa and congratulated the Secretariat for its professionalism in managing the transition and relocation to Samoa.
The Board reviewed the 2016 Regular Annual Meeting discussions on the organisation's governance structure and agreed on how to address key issues raised by Members. The Board agreed that PIDC's current governance processes were secure and promoted transparency and accountability within the organisation. The Board further reaffirmed its commitment to reviewing the organisation's governance arrangements to identify possible issues and develop agreed approaches that protected the interests of Members.
2016 conference workshop session analysis
The Board discussed in detail an analysis of the 2016 Annual conference workshop sessions on governance arrangements, movement of third country nationals and training and agreed that a number of these priority issues would be addressed through activities to be included in the Secretariat annual work plan. The Board anticipated that Members would be supported in these thematic areas and recognised the value of the Regular Annual Meeting workshop sessions in identifying specific immigration priorities and challenges and developing possible coordinated responses.
The Board noted the crucial role of information sharing for effective immigration and border management across the PIDC membership and agreed to establish an Information Sharing Working Group to develop recommendations to strengthen the management and sharing of information among Members. The Board agreed on the need to explore and utilise experiences on information exchange from national and regional partner organisations.
The Board discussed its advocacy programme noting the need to develop a targeted and consistent message guided by the PIDC communication strategy as the organisation moved to communicate its objectives and activities to stakeholders and secure its international profile as the principal regional immigration body for the Pacific. The Board agreed that the transitional changes the organisation was undergoing provided a valuable opportunity to rebrand PIDC to better reflect and communicate our values, objectives and priorities as we continue to support our Members interests and engage with regional and international partners to promote our work throughout the region and internationally.
building knowledge and expertise
The Board recognised the value of capacity building programmes in the region and the challenges Members raised during the 2016 annual conference. Board members supported Secretariat efforts to undertake a regional training needs analysis to guide the development of a sustainable and targeted training programme based on priority needs identified by Members. The Board agreed that training was a key component of PIDC's work programme as it provided direct support to Members seeking to: (a) address the challenges of border security in a changing immigration landscape; and (b) enhance their organisational capacity to manage immigration issues and contribute to national discussions and policies on labour mobility and economic growth.