News Item

Unity is Strength

News 24 Aug 2018

As Nauru prepares to host the 49th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting, the tiny island nation is picking up a considerable amount of attention, some of which has been met with criticism. One man who has dedicated his working life serving Nauru, however, has seen the progress the republic has made. He shares with PCF his thoughts on the issues discussed in this year’s Pacific Wave Forum.

Aloysius Amwano, Senior Program Manager for Education and Scholarships at the Australian High Commission in Nauru, attended the Pacific Wave Forum with a simple ambition: ‘To be a part of a healthy, prosperous and peaceful Pacific’.

While he was a politician for almost two decades, Aloysius believes that a partnership between the Pacific private and public sector is a solution in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases and Climate Change.

“I agree that partnership cooperation between the Pacific private sector and governments will be effective in reducing NCDs and managing Climate Change. When both parties unite and understand each other’s strengths, they will achieve the desired outcomes.”

Aloysius knows first-hand the power of unification, having advocated for gender equality in his homeland. In 2002, the Government of Nauru expanded the department of Women’s Affairs by creating a Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Aloysius was given the portfolio and became its very first Minister.

“Through my previous role as Finance Minister, we managed to gain the confidence of Parliament that year, by providing significant funds to the national budget to enable our women to participate at regional and international conventions. The parliamentary support for this initiative continues in Nauru today,” she says.

“In that same year, some women were appointed to some of the most senior positions in the public service. That includes Chief Secretary, Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Secretary for Education and Consul General to Australia. In addition, our Ambassador to the United Nations was a woman and Nauru boasts its first PhD holder, also a woman.

“Today, it is so encouraging to see many more women participating in our regional development and decision-making. I continue to support the Pacific region because in reality we are ‘one’. We may be scattered throughout this vast area, but we are all affected by the same problems.”

The Pacific Forum Leaders Meeting in Nauru will commence September 3 – 6. The Government of Nauru chose the theme Building a Strong Pacific: Our Islands, Our People, Our Will which has been widespread in all PIFS preparatory meetings held in Samoa, Palau and New Zealand.