We are delighted to announce that ICDP has received a three-year contract extension from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to continue implementing Pacific Connect – a programme announced by the Prime Minister of Australia at the 48th Pacific Islands Forum in Samoa on 8 September 2017.
The aim of Pacific Connect is to help deliver the Government’s agenda to step up Australia’s engagement in the Pacific by working with local leadership to identify opportunities, individuals and coalitions for engagement under a theme of ‘Australia-Pacific Connections for the digital future.’
The extension will allow ICDP to continue building enduring relationships between Pacific Islanders and Australians through regional Dialogues, workshops and study tours. . In line with its second objective – ‘to shape and influence emerging leaders from the Pacific and Australia, with a greater focus on promoting Pacific Island women as current and future leaders” – ICDP aims to increase Pacific representation (especially Pacific women) in strategy setting, program leadership, and Dialogue / workshop facilitation.
ICDP was established by the institute for active policy Global Access Partners (GAP) in July 2017. Through its ‘Second Track’ process, GAP generates links in all sectors to increase stakeholder participation in the implementation of government policy and promotes innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to problem-solving. Supported by GAP’s alumni network of over 3,500 people in a broad range of fields and benefiting from Strategic Development Group’s Pacific connections, ICDP draws on the very best of Australian and Pacific expertise and utilises the GAP model to expand and improve strategic discussions, policy process and networks between Australia and the Pacific.
The pilot phase of Pacific Connect, which ran from September 2017-2019, culminated in the Pacific Connect Ideas Exchange that brought over 60 delegates from Australia, PNG, Vanuatu, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Fiji to Australia’s oldest parliament house in Sydney to share new ideas and create new connections.
ICDP CEO, Simone Pensko says of the news: ‘the past two years have been extremely positive and we have managed to build a great network of enthusiastic, diverse and experienced Pacific Islanders and Australians who have generated some great projects within their countries. We are pleased that we can now use this momentum to continue to enhance and strengthen the Pacific Connect Community, and support emerging Pacific leaders to address challenges using ICT, share experiences and ideas, and develop self-sustaining businesses.’
To begin the new three-year period, Pacific Connect will return to Brisbane in November for the Financial Education Dialogue, before heading to Tonga for another ICT themed dialogue. We value working with the Pacific Connect Community and to continue to enabling Australia-Pacific relationships and foster exciting #DigitalPacific initiatives.