The mid term review of the Niue National Strategic Plan 2016-2026 is the focus of the national summit held today. The two day summit was officially opened by Premier Dalton Tagelagi with what is described as an inspiring speech about building stronger partnerships across all the different stakeholders and donor partners.
The Premier spoke to a packed conference room at the Scenic Matavai, to more than 100 senior public servants, private sector, NGOs and community organisations including members of the Fono Ekepule (parliament) and the High Commissioners of New Zealand and Australia.
He touched on a number of issues about sustaining a healthy and sustainable Niue saying that at the end of the summit he wanted to know if we should keep the same vision of “A prosperous Niue” or should there be a new vision referring to the impacts of COVID 19 saying “we must explore every opportunity to diversify our economy, be innovative and build resilience into our strategic approaches going forward and building back better”.
He spoke of the current challenges and the new normal and asking the participants to think very hard about this global pandemic, climate change, the economy, non-communicable diseases, mental health, budget deficit, poor roads, the collapse of our tourism industry, reduced government revenues, education, cyber security, food security, national security and good governance. He asked as well for the participants to factor into the discussions over the two days working towards the UN Sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Forum Leaders Blue Pacific Strategy 2050 in the next phase of the national strategic plan.
One of the participants Seone Lolesio, Director of the University of the South Pacific Niue campus said he was very impressed with the Premier’s speech ‘that it was a motivational and inspiring speech, very pleased with it”.
Premier Tagelagi’s message about building stronger partnerships was a poignant reminder of the precarious position of small island states and the development agenda often fraught with challenges. He called them ‘bottlenecks’ or hold ups to the work that we are trying to do. “We need and want professional cooperation and display of patriotism and responsibility, from all the key institutions and government employees. Public servants have a duty and responsibility to the people of Niue and negative mindsets need to change.”
The premier called on everyone to “…work together to reshape our history, update and rewrite our plan, re-energize our live on a path forward to a sustainable future.”
The summit is organised by the Department of Planning and Finance with the key outcome of a countrywide understanding of the current development status of Niue and input into a strategic way forward including the response to the effects of COVID 19.