“Focus on leadership simultaneously in government and in Pacific communities for stability and real independence,” urged a US-based development leader from the Pacific islands.
Speaking to a gathering of senior civil servants from the Pacific islands in the Australian capital, Lelei TuiSamoa LeLaulu, chairman of the Suva-based Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific International (FSPI), declared the key to self-reliance lay in “smart partnerships” between the public sector and island communities.
“We expect our political leaders to do the right thing and people expect the public managers in the civil service to do it right,” he contended.
“Civil servants are far too busy to deal with details so you should work closely with charities, local organizations and development groups to carry these messages deep into the communities,” LeLaulu told participants at the Pacific Executive Program (PACE) of AusAID.
“Pacific life is lived in communities,” he averred, “and governments must engage community leaders if they want to ensure the success of national initiatives.”
Referring to the government civil service as “the hands of policy”, LeLaulu described communities as “the fingers which can reach deep into island societies, so a partnership between the two is a smart one indeed for savvy public managers.”
Asserting the key to self-reliance and true independence lay in “cutting dependency on, often capricious, overseas donors,” LeLaulu urged Pacific governments to work more closely with its own non-government organizations to “make the best possible use of human and other resources to reduce, and eventually break, the dependence on outside donors.”