Tonga’s candidate for the top job at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat says she’s committed to making a difference for people across the region.

Amelia Kinahoi-Siamomua is head of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Gender section in London.

The lone female contender is up against the outgoing Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna; the Marshall Islands US Ambassador Gerald Zackios; former Pacific Community head Dr Jimmie Rodgers from Solomon Islands and former Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

But the 60 year-old development economist and international strategist said she has what it takes to reunite and move the region forward.

Kinahoi-Siamomua said she had a broad range of skills, professional experience, and ability to work with all people, as well as the ability to lead.

Her global experience with international organisations and networks could help her lead the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) forward amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate crises, according to the Tongan leader.

“My goal is to be that servant leader – to reset PIFS, to be more relevant, resilient and responsive.

“This is the main political driver of Pacific regionalism and it will be the driver for sustainable development in the next eight years.”

Kinahoi-Siamomua has this unflagging conviction that the Pacific can work together to raise the standards of living for all its peoples.

And at the same time, she said, she would be leading on the global arena on issues such as climate change, trade, sustainable development and innovation, gender equality and the green, blue economy recovery of post Covid-19

“In the international arena, they have declared this is the decade of action and for the Pacific, it needs to be come more relevant to fast changing economic and social circumstances and realities that we are embracing.”

Kinahoi-Siamomua becomes only the second person from the Kingdom of Tonga to contest for secretary-general at the Forum Secretariat in Suva as Dame Meg Taylor finishes her second three-year term in January.

The late Mahe Tupouniua was the first director of the forum in 1972 – then called the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation or SPEC.


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