The Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year.
The CROP was first endorsed by Pacific Islands Forum Leaders in 1988 as an overarching committee for regional organisations in the Pacific. Its original name was the South Pacific Organisations’ Coordinating Committee.
At the inaugural meeting the following year, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro, Fiji’s then Minister for Women’s Affairs, opened the meeting by emphasising the importance of a strength of unity between regional organisations: “Collaborate and coordinate your activities so that resources are developed properly and utilised to maximise the benefits for the peoples of the region. It is imperative that through this Committee this is achieved.”
There is no doubt that the region we live in today has significantly evolved from what it was when CROP was first established. However, the purpose of CROP is as important as ever – work collectively to build a stronger region for Pacific people by coordinating policy advice and providing technical expertise, assistance and resources to support Pacific countries.
It is also worth noting that CROP agencies are Pacific based, Pacific owned, and have employed thousands of highly skilled Pacific islanders across a variety of specialised areas.
In recent years, we have seen a renewed sense of Pacific collective action, driven by the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the Blue Pacific narrative, which help us to understand and project the strategic value of our region. This has provided renewed impetus for CROP to act together.
The Heads of CROP agencies held their 45th meeting this week. A key focus of discussion was reviewing progress to deliver on Forum priorities, particularly with regards to climate change and resilience, fisheries, security, ocean management and conservation, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
CROP agencies will meet with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders on Tuesday 4 September in Nauru to discuss their role in ‘Building a Strong Pacific’. CROP Heads will meet again on 20 November in Suva to agree to a strategic work agenda for 2019, in response to Leaders’ decisions and commitments from the 49th Pacific Islands Forum.
CROP membership consists of the following Pacific regional inter-governmental organisations: Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO); Pacific Community (SPC); Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (CROP Chair); Pacific Power Association (PPA); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP); South Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO); and The University of the South Pacific (USP).