A report that will provide a platform to build on Pacific Science, Technology and Innovation initiatives has been launched by Minister for Pacific Peoples Hon Aupito William Sio.
Minister Sio says the report collates and brings together the findings of discussions with 140 Pacific community and sector leaders who attended the Lalanga Fou Languages and High Tech Fono held in November 2019.
“The fono was a unique opportunity to bring together, for the first time, Pacific communities, key stakeholders from the private sector and government (both domestic and from Pacific countries), to collectively talanoa (talk) about Pacific languages and technology.
“It was also an opportunity to share, navigate, identify, and design the ways that science and technology can best be utilised to revitalise languages and cultures, and protect Pacific indigenous knowledge.”
The findings have been important for the advancement of the Government’s work programme and goals for more prosperous Pacific communities and languages, he adds.
“It’s a step towards turning a shared vision into something tangible that Pacific communities can celebrate and be proud of.”
The outcomes from the report was crucial in informing the Budget 2020 bids, and he says it has resulted in a push for greater participation in the Toloa Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programme and enabled a more collaborative approach among government agencies to support the expansion of a number of work plans, including the Toloa initiative.
“The insights we got from the fono also made a difference in the way key messages were communicated to Pacific communities and was particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, when our communities were able to hear and read key messages in languages they understood.
“It is critical we take these learnings and apply it across the board.
“Only then can we ensure Pacific groups get the opportunities the digital economy offers and encourage our communities to develop and lead their own planning to grow.”