The head of the Pacific Islands Forum on Friday outlined her vision for regional development at a seminar in Wellington, stressing education and the inclusion of women.
The new Framework for Pacific Regionalism, agreed by forum leaders last year, had to balance the needs, capacities and ambitions of smaller and larger island states, Dame Meg Taylor, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, said at the seminar held at Victoria University.
"Giving voice to all is an ongoing challenge in working with Pacific communities," she said in her speech, according to a statement from the university.
She emphasized the importance of women being part of the decision-making process as well as the importance of education.
"Education is the key to unlocking social and economic opportunities in the Pacific," she said.
"It is my view that New Zealand and Australia, as members of the Pacific Islands Forum, have particular responsibilities to support building the educational capacities of member nations."
More than 200 people, including politicians, diplomats, Pacific leaders, business people and academics, attended the seminar, which was co-hosted by Victoria University, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.