The Forty-Eighth Pacific Islands Forum was held in Apia, Samoa. The Forum Leaders’ Retreat was held at Taumeasina Island Resort in Apia on 8 September 2017.
The retreat held from 5 – 8 September 2017 was attended by Heads of States, Governments, and Territories from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, Republic of Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Nauru, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Republic of Palau was represented by their Vice President, the Republic of Fiji was represented by the Minister for Defence and National Security, New Zealand by the Minister for Foreign Affairs , Niue the Minister for Social Services.
THE BLUE PACIFIC – OUR SEA OF ISLANDS – OUR SECURITY THROUGH SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION
PIF Leaders reaffirmed the Framework for Pacific Regionalism (FPR) as their platform for a renewed commitment to collective action to drive the region’s policy agenda towards the realisation of the Leaders vision for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives.
The forum also further reaffirmed the value of ownership of the regional agenda through an inclusive and transparent policy development process. Leaders recognised the value of dialogue processes with the Associate Member, Observers, Forum Dialogue Partners, CROP Heads, civil society and private sector to inform the Leaders meeting.
Leaders endorsed The Blue Pacific identity as the core driver of collective action for advancing the Leaders vision under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Through this endorsement, Pacific Island Forum Leaders also recognized The Blue Pacific as a new narrative that calls for inspired leadership and a long-term Forum foreign policy commitment to act as one “Blue Continent”.
In considering the shifts in the global and regional contexts, Leaders recognized the opportunity of The Blue Pacific identity to reinforce the potential of our shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean and reaffirms the connections of Pacific peoples with their natural resources, environment, culture and livelihoods.
The Blue Pacific as being about all Pacific peoples comprising our ocean of islands, who recognize their needs and potential, who plan and own their development agenda, and who can act collectively for the good of all, rather than a few. The Blue Pacific is the catalyst for deeper Pacific regionalism.
Pacific Island Forum Leaders also reiterated their support for existing regional ocean policy and declarations, and strengthening of the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner for coordination and advocacy of cross-sectoral ocean issues.
The forum called for the commencement of the negotiations in the UN for a new Implementing Agreement on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity on Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction.
Pacific Leaders have committed to fast track the development of policies to ban the use of single-use plastic bags, plastic and styrofoam packaging and called on Pacific Rim partners to join and commit to action on addressing marine pollution and marine debris, to maintain the environmental integrity of the Pacific Ocean for people, planet and prosperity.
The summit has also called for a united regional effort that establishes and secures international recognition of the permanent protection and integrity of the maritime zones and sovereignty, from the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise.
As the Retreat has now ended and leaders have all returned to their respective states, it is noted the leadership of Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Palau and Vanuatu toward integrated ocean management of their maritime and exclusive economic zones is in need of major improvement.