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Smaller Island States 14th Summit Press Statement

Published: Tue 25 Oct 2005 11:35 PM
PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT
SMALLER ISLAND STATES
FOURTEENTH SIS LEADERS’ SUMMIT
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
24 October 2005
JOINT PRESS STATEMENT
The Pacific Islands Forum’s Smaller Island States (SIS) Summit was held on 24 October 2005 in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The Summit was attended by leaders from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu and the representative from the Republic of Palau. The meeting was chaired by the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Leaders welcomed attendance by the President of French Polynesia and Executive Heads of CROP organizations.
Pacific Plan
Leaders of the SIS endorsed the Plan noting the importance it afforded the special needs of smaller island states. They also agreed that the Plan should be dynamic and responsive to new and emerging threats such as the Avian Bird Flu and HIV/Aids; promote labor mobility amongst all Forum members and support skills development; address the critical transportation needs of small island states; pay closer attention to poverty alleviation; support special national implementation arrangements; provide special assistance to address the particular constraints of small island states; and ensure rational regional implementation arrangements.
The SIS Leaders also noted with appreciation the proposal to set up a dedicated unit in the Secretariat tasked with ensuring that the SIS perspective is represented, and that they fully benefit from the Plan. Support to the SIS will include the provision of in-country capacity building to allow SIS to further realize benefits of current and future regional initiatives.
Avian Bird Flu Preparedness
SIS Leaders noted with grave concern the risk of a worldwide epidemic or pandemic caused by the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A/H5N1. They therefore sought urgent action to further the partnership amongst Pacific Island Countries and Territories, regional and international organizations and development partners to mobilize resources for the immediate development and implementation of national and regional influenza Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plans. They also agreed to ask Australia and New Zealand for immediate assistance and the Forum to direct the Forum Health Ministers to convene an emergency meeting to consider and agree on urgent regional action.
Pacific Regional Assistance to Nauru
SIS Leaders received a briefing from the Nauru President updating the Summit on progress in Nauru’s recovery efforts and expressing his appreciation for the efforts of the region including by SIS members to assist Nauru through the Pacific Regional Assistance to Nauru (PRAN) Framework. Leaders expressed satisfaction at the efforts so far and encouraged Members and development partners to continue with their support to Nauru. They noted that a Nauru Donor Round Table Meeting is scheduled in Nauru on the 30th November and encouraged active participation by the Forum’s development partners; and in the implementation of Nauru’s National Sustainable Development Strategy.
Petroleum Import Issues
SIS Leaders noted that the petroleum sector could benefit from a high degree of regional integration as identified in the Pacific Plan. Furthermore, in recognizing the vulnerability of SIS countries to petroleum price shocks, and the high level of dependence on key exports/imports, Leaders requested the Secretariat to develop a proposal and framework to improve their access to petroleum price risk management tools, and improve the competitiveness of national enterprises.
Leaders noted the potentially significant benefits of bulk procurement initiatives in petroleum, pharmaceutical and essential products. In this regard, Leaders requested the Secretariat to develop a framework agreement proposal governing joint bulk purchasing processes and procedures that also address the other requirements including at the national level. The leaders agreed that a full proposal be submitted to the 2006 Forum for consideration and approval.
Leaders also noted the importance of addressing in the context of the Pacific Plan the need for and requirements of promoting alternative and sustainable energy sources and technology.
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (PIFFA) Convention
SIS Leaders were pleased to note the progress report of their 2004 Apia direction to seek greater sustainable returns from fisheries and to allow for ministerial oversight of regional fisheries matters. They noted for example the range of governance and other reforms underway within the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency including the FFA’s new mission statement which will enable it to provide advice and briefings on market conditions and investment opportunities, support private sector consultative bodies and assist with the preparation of fishery development plans, and access and trade negotiations including, for example, the Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the EU. Leaders also supported the new PIFFA Strategic Plan to be launched by the President of the Republic Marshall at the Pacific Islands Forum.
Regarding future governance arrangements for the FFA, and while noting the new practice of ministerial oversight, the Leaders supported the need to make such a practice explicit in the new/revised FFA Convention.
Republic of the Marshall Islands Radioactive Contamination
SIS Leaders reiterated their support of the Forum position on the issue of the Republic of the Marshall Islands radioactive contamination and encouraged members to lend support to the Marshall Islands on this issue at the United Nations General Assembly and other international fora.
The SIS Leaders recognized the special circumstances pertaining to the continued presence of radioactive contaminants in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and reaffirmed the existence of a special responsibility by the United States of America towards the people of the Marshall Islands, who have been, and continue to be, adversely affected as a direct result of nuclear weapons tests conducted by the United States during its administration of the islands under the UN Trusteeship mandate.
SIS Leaders again reiterated their call on the United States to live up to its full obligations on the provision of adequate and fair compensation and commitment to its responsibility for the safe resettlement of displaced populations, including the full and final restoration to economic productivity of all affected areas.
The SIS Leaders also noted the continuing dialogue between the Governments of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the United States, including the U.S. Congress and Administration, and agreed to submit a letter to the United States Government urging the United States to meet its obligations as presented in Marshall Islands’ Changed Circumstance Petition to the United States
Review of SIS Membership
Leaders noted the work done in reviewing the SIS membership criteria and agreed to defer a final decision on the matter to 2006. In completing the work, the Leaders asked the Secretariat to take account of the need to define the nature of the problems faced by the SIS.
Statement by the President of French Polynesia
The President of French Polynesia thanked the SIS leaders for the invitation to attend the SIS Summit as an Observer and the opportunity to make a brief statement. The President noted the many issues and interests shared in common by the French Polynesia and the SIS membership, and expressed the wish to share in the common endeavors to address them.
Fifteenth SIS Leaders’ Summit
SIS Leaders agreed that their 15th Summit be held immediately prior the 37th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, with a full day being set aside for the purpose.
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
24 October 2005

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