Legal frameworks for e-commerce in the Pacific advanced

Oct 26, 2023 | Blog, News, Pacific

In a landmark development for Pacific E-commerce, a three-day regional workshop centred on legal frameworks to bolster the digital economy and the momentous signing of the Statement of Intent for the Pacific E-commerce Alliance by the Commonwealth Secretariat has been celebrated. The workshop, conducted from the 18th to the 20th of October, 2023, signifies a significant stride in the advancement of the Pacific’s digital landscape.

Held under the aegis of the Pacific E-commerce Initiative, the Commonwealth Secretariat (ComSec), in collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Asia Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), hosted the “Workshop on Effective Legal Frameworks for Building the Digital Economy” at the Pacific Islands Forum in Suva, Fiji.

This workshop perfectly aligns with Key Priority Area 4 of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap, underscoring the vital role of robust E-commerce laws and regulations as the foundational building blocks for nurturing E-commerce development across the Pacific region.

The primary aim of the workshop was to bolster capacity, foster awareness, stimulate dialogue, and facilitate knowledge exchange among influential policymakers, government officials, senior ICT professionals, technocrats, and legal reform officers throughout the region. Participants were provided with the opportunity to partake in presentations from leading experts spanning various facets of the digital economy, engage in thought-provoking panel discussions, and contribute to group exercises aimed at enhancing their grasp of the subject matter.

Esala Nayasi, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, said, “E-commerce presents the potential to facilitate trade, connect our islands, and empower businesses in the digital era. However, doing so correctly is essential. This workshop addresses one of the priority areas of the Regional Strategy, focusing on advancing E-commerce and legal and regulatory frameworks. Our goal is to equip ourselves with the knowledge and skills to craft legislation that fosters innovation, protects consumers and the private sector, and builds trust in online marketplaces.”

During the event, Dr. Arjoon Suddhoo, the Deputy Secretary-General of ComSec, shared invaluable insights. He stated, “This initiative charts our course toward the 2024 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa, under the theme ‘One Resilient Common Future: Transforming our Commonwealth.’ The Commonwealth family of 56 nations recognizes the importance of developing resilient economies to support recovery from and survive future pandemics, withstand economic uncertainties, and unlock the potential of the private sector.” Dr. Suddhoo emphasised that the adoption of innovative and transformative technologies and digital solutions “can safeguard the prosperity of our family of nations.”

The workshop received contributions from various regional and international agencies, including the United Nations and Commission on International Trade Law, International Chamber of Commerce, World Intellectual Property Organisation, and many more.

This groundbreaking event has laid the foundation for the Pacific region to leverage the full potential of E-commerce while ensuring a secure and thriving digital landscape. With the Commonwealth Secretariat’s support and the collaboration of numerous influential organisations, the Pacific is poised to make significant strides in the realm of digital commerce.