CSPSA leaders meet to strengthen Scouting in the South Pacific
The Council of South Pacific Scouts Association (CSPSA) held its 7th Forum at a very impressive plenary hall of the South Pacific Commission Secretariat in Noumea. The Scouts and Guides New Caledonia hosted the forum on 16 July 2012.
Twenty two delegates comprising of Chief Commissioners and key leaders from ten countries in the Pacific attended the event, that includes Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. This was the largest CSPSA gathering since it began its regular bi-annual meeting in 2004. Another ten observers from partner NSOs were in attendance including Scouts Australia, Scouts de France, Scouting New Zealand, and The Scout Association (UK).
Current Chairman and Chief Commissioner of Scouts and Guides of New Caledonia Mr. Roger Colot chaired the forum and welcomed at the opening the Honorable Minister of Youth and Sports Mr. Briault Gaby and several government representatives. The Archbishop of New Caledonia Father Calvet, who was a Scout, led the benediction.
Major items on the agenda were the election of 2012-2014 office bearers with discussion on the achievements and challenges of CSPSA members. Mr. Sere Kala, Chief Commissioner of the Scout Association of Papua New Guinea was elected chairman of the council and Chief Commissioner of Solomon Islands, Mr. Joe Billy Oge, as vice-chairman. Mr. Noel Pinda, Treasurer of PNG Scout Association was appointed Secretary cum Treasurer. The council reaffirmed the offer of Papua New Guinea to host the next forum in mid 2014 in Port Moresby to be followed by the 2016 forum in Honiara, Solomon Islands.
As an ancillary event, a four-day workshop is taking place from 17th to 20th of July for all forum participants at the Hotel Le Meridien in Noumea. On the first day, each NSO presented their achievements and challenges, with very positive developments. Several important events are lined up including a Centenary Jamboree in Fiji in August 2014, Soccer Tournament for Scouts Teams in Tonga in mid 2013, and Tuvalu will welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Kate in September 2012.
The workshop will cover topics on membership registration system, resources development, financial management, and NSO Constitution. Individual action plan will be developed for the period 2012-2014 to conclude the workshop on the last day. The host association has arranged visits to local Scout Groups with a dialogue with young people. Participants will also visit the Nickel Society of New Caledonia.
The workshop is directed by former Regional Scout Committee member Mr. John Ravenhall and supported by Reg Williams and Neville Tomkins from Scouts Australia, George Fairbairn and Ian Nicholson from Scouting New-Zealand, Nigel Hailey from The Scout Association UK, with Abdullah Rasheed and S. Prassanna Shrivastava from the World Scout Bureau/Asia-Pacific Region.
CSPSA is an informal gathering of Scout associations in the South Pacific which began in 1989 under the name SPENSOC and renamed CSPSA in 1999. In 2004, Council members agreed to meet every two years. Up to now, Fiji, Vanuatu, Polynesia and Tonga have hosted the forum over the past eight years. Among the ten members present, three NSO are full members of WOSM namely Fiji, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea while French Polynesia is an associate member of the Asia Pacific Region of WOSM.