FSMIS (August 4, 2014): The Forty-Fifth Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting concluded in Koror, Republic of Palau on July 31st, 2014. The meeting was attended by the Federated States of Micronesia President Manny Mori and other Heads of State and Government from the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu.
Australia was represented by its Deputy Prime Minister while New Zealand and the Republic of Vanuatu were represented by their respective Ministers of Foreign Affairs. The Cook Islands Minister of Finance represented his country.
As Associate Members of the Pacific Islands Forum, the French Polynesia and New Caledonia attended the formal session and were given opportunities to address the Pacific Leaders.
Other governments and organizations also attended the session as Observers including Tokelau, Timor-Leste, Wallis and Futuna, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the United Nations (UN), the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), and the World Bank.
Also, some Heads of Organizations and senior officials from the following groups were at the formal session: The Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific (CROP); The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (PIFFA); the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP); the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC); the South Pacific Tourism Organization (SPTO); the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP); and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Based on presentations and discussions undertaken at the formal plenary on July 30th and decisions agreed upon at their retreat in Peleliu, Palau a day later, the Pacific Leaders issued an outcome Communiqué that details the collective actions for short and long term regional focus.
Following decisions made at a special retreat on May 5, 2014 in the Cook Islands, the Leaders endorsed the renewed Pacific Plan calling for strong partnerships and well-defined principles fostering inclusivity and regionalism. They also affirmed the important roles the CROP agencies play in relation to the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and directed the Forum Secretariat to ensure higher transparency and efficiency of meetings.
In view of the Post 2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) being discussed at the global level, the Pacific Leaders expressed concern regarding the number of goals and targets and called on the global community to focus on limited number of SDG's and make the agenda more achievable. Given the concern and other needs, the Leaders looked forward to the upcoming Small Islands Development States (SIDS) international conference in Apia, Samoa in September 2014 as a platform for unified interventions by the Forum Island Countries (FIC's) to affect global development agendas and ensure the inclusion of Ocean Sustainable Development as a stand-alone goal to be emphasized under the post-2015 global SDG's.
The Leaders also endorsed the Palau Declaration on 'The Ocean: Life and Future' as a document by the PIF Leaders. This declaration stresses the importance of the ocean to Pacific people, enumerates the existing threats and dangers facing and faced by ocean populations, and emphasizes the need for integrated management approaches for sustainable utilization and conservation of marine habitats and resources.
The Leaders also undertook actions and provided direction on the treatment of issues relating to the threat of invasive species on Pacific economies and communities, Fiji's readmission to the Forum, Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), Transnational and Boarder Security Issues, Radioactive Contamination in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Private Sector Dialogue in the region.
Additionally, the Leaders agreed to accept Tokelau's application for Associate Membership in the Forum and admitted the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under Observer status. Spain and Turkey were also granted membership in the Post-Forum Dialogue (PFD), which took immediate effect at the August 1st meeting between Partner countries and the PIF Member-States.
After six years of leading the Forum Secretariat, Leaders expressed their appreciation to Mr. Tuiloma Neroni Slade for his significant role in the strengthening of the region the past six years. To replace Mr. Slade, the Leaders appointed Mrs. Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea as the new Forum Secretariat Secretary-General for a three year term, beginning in November 2014.
As confirmed, future PIF Leaders Meeting will be held as follows: Papua New Guinea in 2015; the Federated States of Micronesia in 2016; Samoa in 2017; Nauru in 2018 and Tuvalu in 2019.