NAURU, 6 September – THE leaders of the Pacific large and Smaller Island States have reached the final resolution of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum with an official signing of the communique in Nauru.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne also attended the 4-days (3-6 September) Forum summit.
The communique was issued yesterday after the end of leaders retreat programme; and it outlined the commitments of the leaders in the coming years. Thus, the respective leaders also welcomed the key regionalism priorities and collective actions endorsed within the communique.
They expressed their gratitude to the President of Nauru, the Government and the people of Nauru for the warm hospitality extended to all delegations. Leaders commended the preparations and facilitation of the 2018 Leaders’ and related meetings, which enabled Leaders and all participants to hold constructive discussions, and contributed to the overall success of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum.
They further acknowledged the Government of Nauru for the 49th PIF Leaders meeting theme, Building a Strong Pacific: Our People, Our Islands, Our Will, recognising the opportunity that the theme presents to strengthen the region’s collective will to drive the region’s ambition to overcome the persistent development challenges faced by the Pacific people.
The issue of the Regional Security was the top agenda from the leader’s summit – the Leaders acknowledged the dynamic geopolitical environment that has led to an increasingly crowded and contested region, and reaffirmed the need for strengthened collective and cohesive action to effectively manage our regional security environment in a proactive manner.
The communique reports:
“Leaders recalled their 2017 decision on a regional security declaration and welcomed the extensive security discussions held on an expanded concept of security inclusive of human security, humanitarian assistance, prioritizing environmental security and regional cooperation in building resilience to disasters and climate change. Leaders acknowledged the development of a Regional Security Declaration which builds on and complements the Biketawa Declaration, and responds to the region’s complex and evolving regional security environment.
“They finally endorsed the Regional Security Declaration to be known as the Boe Declaration and noted that an action plan for implementation, supporting the proposed regional security declaration, will be developed by November, 2018.
“Leaders directed the Forum Troika (Samoa, Nauru and Tuvalu) to review progress of implementation of the Boe Declaration in mid-2019.”
The Boe Declaration is named after the district in Nauru it was signed in and the key points are the declaration expands the idea of regional security to include environmental issues
It specifically names climate change as the region’s “single greatest threat” and recognizes that the Pacific is “increasingly crowded” in terms of geopolitics and most importantly it declares that climate change “remains the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well being of the peoples of the Pacific”.
Other two issues highlighted by leaders are on Aerial Surveillance, Strengthening Arrangements for Regionalism: Leaders supported the Aerial Surveillance programme to be implemented by MOUs entered into by each government, and constituent parts, with PIFFA and acknowledged the support of the Government of Australia to strengthen the surveillance capabilities of participating members.
They reaffirmed the importance of whole-of-government engagement to drive its regional priorities, recognizing their individual responsibility for maintaining the momentum for implementation of our regional policy agenda.
The future hosts of the Forum have been confirmed with Tuvalu holding the event next year and Vanuatu in 2019.