Traditional Leaders Can Boost Pacific Islands Unity

(MENAFN- Asia Times) Pacific Island nations have declared a campaign to move toward recognition of indigenous and traditional leaders in policy development.

While it may appear an unconventional move, in the Pacific's contemporary context of competing foreign powers and impending climate catastrophe, a bolstered orientation for alternative forms of traditional leadership is timelier and more appropriate than ever.

At the February 2024 inaugural session and re-commencement of Fiji's Bose Levu Vakaturaga (Great Council of Chiefs), the country's indigenous i-Taukei (indigenous) leaders convened for the first time since the council's termination in 200 .

The occasion signified the re-establishment of the constitutionally recognized apolitical body intended to advance the priorities and respond to the challenges of Fiji's i-Taukei population.

With the reinstated advisory body's immediate scope and priorities still to be finalized, the platform for domestic consideration for Fiji's indigenous population also sets a broader scene for the Pacific.

With this momentum, considerable attention has been concentrated on the inaugural Pacific Traditional Leaders Forum (PTLF) coming up in Hawaii in June. The new body, made up of traditional Pacific leaders, has been established as a regional instrument to promote the input of traditional leaders in decision-making in the Pacific and advance an inter-regional platform for leadership and cooperation.

The forum is premised on the concept of a representative Pacific that protects the indigenous sovereignty of localized leadership in the region at a time of unparalleled interactivity and foreign intervention.

In considering the application of the PTLF model and the resulting actions, it's important to reiterate that the application of enduring traditions of indigenous Pacific culture remains embedded within the core structure of Pacific society, politics, and policy.

Importantly, the provision of traditional knowledge is centered on using the Blue Pacific Continent status and the need for cooperative, utilitarian policy recognizing the deep environmental, military, and diplomatic risks uniting the region.


Asia Times

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