Thirty-Fourth Pacific Islands Forum Communique
Auckland, New Zealand
14 - 16 August 2003
1. The Thirty-Fourth Pacific Islands Forum was held in Auckland, New Zealand from 14-16 August 2003 and was attended by Heads of State and Governments of Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. New Caledonia and Timor-Leste also attended the formal session as observers. The Forum Retreat was held at Government House in Auckland.
2. The Forum Leaders thanked the Government and people of New Zealand for hosting the 2003 meeting and acknowledged with appreciation the warm welcome and generous hospitality provided to all delegations to the Forum and related meetings and for the arrangements made for their meetings.
Forum Aviation Ministers Meeting
3. Leaders endorsed outcomes of the 4th meeting of Aviation Ministers, in particular the Forum Aviation Action Plan 2003 and the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement. Leaders urged those Forum Island Countries wishing to become parties to the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement to sign during the Forum.
4. Leaders welcomed the establishment of a Pacific Aviation Safety Office, which was anticipated to be fully operational by late 2003.
5. On the closure of the Johnston Atoll airport, Leaders agreed to convey to the United States Government the Forum’s request to consider deferment of the closure of the airport and to donate surplus equipment currently at Johnston for use at Cassidy Airport at Kiritimati to lower the cost and accelerate the upgrade of Cassidy. The Leaders also undertook to approach the airlines involved to consult about contributing to the effort.
Forum Economic Ministers Meeting
6. Leaders endorsed the Forum Economic Ministers’ report and encouraged members to implement the 2003 Action Plan. Leaders noted members continued effort to improve economic management in the Pacific Islands and recognised that macroeconomic stability and a strong institutional environment supported and underpinned good economic development policies.
7. Leaders also recognised the broad relevance of the Millennium Development Goals to the Pacific, particularly if modified to better reflect Pacific circumstances, and their usefulness in focusing and improving the integration of planning for sustainable development, and in the monitoring of progress.
8. Leaders expressed concerns regarding the potential inequitable application of the OECD’s Harmful Tax Initiative and emphasised the need for regional solidarity in responding to this initiative.
Forum Education Ministers Meeting
9. Leaders endorsed the Forum Basic Education Action Plan – 2002 Review and noted that funding basic education was a priority. Leaders encouraged members to implement the Action Plan and importance of early childhood care and education for long-term poverty alleviation was emphasised.
10. Leaders also noted the importance of the Pacific Regional Initiative for Developing Education (PRIDE) programme for the implementation of the Forum Basic Education Action Plan and that the programme had been submitted for funding under the European Union’s 9th EDF Pacific Regional Indicative Programme. Leaders thanked the Government of New Zealand for its contribution to the PRIDE programme to expedite its implementation.
Forum Trade Ministers Meeting
11. Leaders endorsed the Forum Trade Ministers’ Outcomes document, welcomed the entering into force of both PICTA and PACER since their last meeting and noted that Forum Members not yet party to those Agreements were taking positive steps towards becoming parties.
12. Leaders also noted progress in the preparation of the Regional Trade Facilitation Programme that, when implemented, would greatly assist Forum Island Countries in expanding their trading opportunities and reducing the costs of engaging in international trade. Leaders agreed in principle to offer membership in both PICTA and PACER to French and United States Pacific Territories and that a sub-committee of Forum Trade Officials, supported by the Secretariat, be tasked with pursuing the initiative as a matter of priority.
Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting and Regional Assistance to Solomon Islands
13. Leaders endorsed the package of assistance developed by Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers that was being provided to Solomon Islands, at the request of the Government of Solomon Islands, including the police-led operation to restore law and order, supported, as required, by armed peace-keepers, and the programme of assistance to strengthen the justice system and restore the economy and basic services. Leaders noted that the assistance was being provided under the framework of the Biketawa Declaration and was a significant milestone for the Forum in regional cooperation. Leaders welcomed the signing by all members of the multilateral agreement concerning the operations and status
of the police and armed forces and other personnel deployed to Solomon Islands to assist in the restoration of law and order and security.
14. Leaders welcomed the restoration of law and order in Solomon Islands and participation of Forum members to the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. Leaders noted the importance of working with the Government and people of Solomon Islands to rebuild Solomon Islands institutions and establish conditions under which Solomon Islands could achieve social and economic recovery. The Forum encouraged Forum members and the region’s partners to assist in this rebuilding. In this regard, the Forum Leaders warmly welcomed the positive statement by the United Nations Secretary-General, HE Mr Kofi Annan, on the Forum’s efforts to assist Solomon Islands, that was delivered by his representative and the United Nations Development Program Administrator, Mr Mark Malloch Brown. Leaders issued the Forum Declaration on Solomon Islands attached at Annex 1.
15. Leaders agreed that a consultative mechanism would be implemented through the Forum Chair, and the Secretary General’s Office, to ensure regular reports to all Forum members on developments in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands.
REGIONAL SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE
Implementation of the Honiara and Nasonini Declarations
16. Leaders noted the progress that was being made in the enactment of the legislative priorities of the 1992 Honiara Declaration on Law Enforcement Cooperation and urged Forum Island Countries to fully to enact the relevant legislation under the Honiara Declaration by the end of 2003, in accordance with the Leaders’ commitment under the 2002 Nasonini Declaration.
17. Leaders commended the work undertaken by the Expert Working Group to Coordinate the Development of a Regional Framework Including Model Legislative Provisions to Address Terrorism and Transnational Organised Crime, convened under the Nasonini Declaration, and urged speedy passage of the legislation once it was finalised and adapted.
18. Leaders noted the various activities the Secretariat had undertaken in implementing the Biketawa Declaration which included monitoring regional political and security developments, post-Forum consultation visits, national security studies and national security workshops.
19. Leaders also noted the establishment of the Regional Security Fund to cover the Secretariat’s costs in implementing the Biketawa Declaration and encouraged donors to contribute to the Fund.
Forum Principles of Good Leadership
20. Leaders adopted a set of Forum Principles of Good Leadership (attached as Annex 2) which takes into account both traditional Pacific values and Forum Leaders’
commitment to the principles contained in the Biketawa Declaration. Leaders noted the Regional Model Leadership Code as a useful document for those countries willing to explore the comprehensive processes it outlined.
Transnational Organised Crime and Border Security
21. Leaders recognised that transnational organised crime such as the illegal trade in wildlife, manufacture of and trafficking in illicit drugs, and identity fraud posed an increasing threat to members and that the region was vulnerable to exploitation by criminal syndicates undertaking these activities.
22. Leaders encouraged Forum Island Countries, in respect of the illegal trade in endangered species, to provide information to the Secretariat regarding their current legislation, incidents of trafficking and a list of possible wildlife at risk, whether or not they were a signatory to the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species, so that a regional assessment of the trade could be made.
23. Leaders expressed their concern at the increasing levels of drug production, cultivation and usage and agreed to: encourage law enforcement agencies to undertake awareness campaigns for officers; endorse a publicity campaign for the public on the dangers and risks of Amphetamine Type Substances use; and encourage law enforcement agencies to continue monitoring the situation with Amphetamine Type Substances within the region and develop contingencies to deal with the situation as appropriate.
24. Leaders noted that model legislation had been developed to address people smuggling, human trafficking, refugee determination and associated issues. It welcomed and encouraged the cooperative initiatives being undertaken in this field by regional bodies, including the exchange of information on these matters.
25. Leaders also agreed that the extension of the Identity Fraud Register project to Forum Island Countries could be valuable. Leaders directed the Forum Secretariat to coordinate the formation of a working group to explore the viability, including indicative costs, for Forum Island Countries to join and participate in the Identity Fraud Register project.
Weapons Control Legislation
26. Leaders recalled that in 1999, they had agreed that work should be undertaken to produce a draft legal framework upon which common measures for weapons control could be based. It was noted that the regional model law on weapons control was based on the principle that the possession and use of firearms, ammunition, other related materials and prohibited weapons is a privilege that is conditional on the overriding need to ensure public safety. The model law improves public safety by imposing strict controls on the importation, possession and use of firearms, ammunition, other related materials and prohibited weapons. Leaders encouraged Forum members to adopt the model weapons control legislation to the fullest extent possible taking account of the different domestic situations.
Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK)
27. Leaders called for a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear issue; urged the DPRK to resume its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and to reverse its announced withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and stressed the need for the DPRK to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.
ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION
Climate Change, Climate Variability and Sea Level Rise
28. Leaders noted the strengthening of regional coordination and support to address climate change, climate variability and sea level rise negotiations and affirmed that given the particular vulnerability of Pacific Island Countries to climate change, it was vital:
• for urgent action to be undertaken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for there to be further commitments in the future by all major emitters;
• for all nations to commit to a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the adverse impacts of climate change, taking into account the special circumstances of small island developing states;
• that Forum members continue to advocate internationally for immediate reductions and limits to greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere at levels that will prevent dangerous interference, consistent with the objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and that the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific continue to provide support at UNFCCC related meetings;
• to identify and implement a range of adaptation options, particularly for extreme weather and climate events, which have been given high attention at previous Forums, and for them to be maintained and well funded through various means, including through the Global Environmental Facility; and
• to continue to be proactive and develop appropriate, affordable, and cost-effective adaptation response measures immediately with support from relevant regional and national institutions.
Leaders also noted:
• that Forum members are taking significant domestic action to mitigate climate change;
• the continuing concerns of those Forum members that have ratified the Kyoto Protocol that it was yet to enter into force and that the Russian ratification would be sufficient to bring it into force;
• that while Australia had not ratified the Kyoto Protocol, it intended to meet its target under the Protocol;
• the Okinawa Initiative in which Pacific Island Forum members that had ratified the Kyoto Protocol, and Japan, strongly urged countries that had not already done so to ratify the protocol in a timely manner.
29. Leaders agreed that both the Vulnerability and Adaptation Pacific Type 2 Initiatives that were launched at the WSSD should be used to seek out partners to address especially climate variability and sea level rise risks and coping options.
30. Leaders stated the need to ensure all relevant aspects of addressing climate change were captured fully in the Ten Year Review of the Barbados Program of Action (BPOA+10) review process and in the outcomes of the International Meeting to be held in Mauritius, and for initiatives to strengthen the national efforts of Pacific Islands Countries to reduce vulnerability and in particular coping strategies for adaptation to climate change, climate variability and sea level rise.
31. Leaders agreed to establish an Ad-Hoc Working Group, based on the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable with a mandate, inter alia, to review the “Regional Framework on Climate Change, Climate Variability and Sea-Level Rise” and forward its recommendations to the 2004 South Pacific Regional Environment Programme meeting for its consideration.
32. Leaders welcomed the progress made through the South Pacific Sea Level and Climate Monitoring Project with regard to scientific research in establishing Absolute Sea Level Rise and climate variability assessments in addressing the global warming predictions, and the regional effort to promote the widespread utilisation of feasible renewable energy technologies in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
33. Leaders noted the work that had been done in relation to the concept of a regional adaptation financing facility as of July 2003 and the need for further work and direction to advance this concept further.
Shipment of Radioactive Materials
34. Leaders reiterated their continuing concerns over the shipment of radioactive materials through the region. It welcomed the recent assurance by shipping States to take all practicable action to assist in the management of an incident, whether or not such an incident involved the release of radioactivity, and to cooperate effectively with any state concerned, particularly states close to where any accident had taken place. Leaders called on shipping States to continue the dialogue with Forum members and in particular, to progress the proposals that Forum members had developed for innovative arrangements and assurances.
Sustainable Development – Preparations for Barbados + 10
35. Leaders noted the successful participation and outcome, in particular for Small Island Developing States in the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and encouraged member country participation at the highest level in the Barbados Plan of Action + 10 Review to be held in Mauritius.
36. Leaders agreed that the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific was to provide full support to member countries in the preparation towards and at the Mauritius Review Meeting. Leaders encouraged member countries to complete their national assessment reports by the end of October 2003 and endorsed the outcomes of the Pacific Regional Meeting held on 4-8 August 2003 in Apia, Samoa, as the basis for preparations
for the International meeting on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States in Mauritius in 2004.
South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty
37. Leaders noted the Secretary General’s report on the status and implementation of the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and called upon the United States to ratify the Protocols to the Treaty as a means of enhancing global and regional peace and security, including global nuclear non-proliferation.
Republic of the Marshall Islands Radioactive Contamination
38. Leaders reiterated the following Forum position from 2002 on the issue of Republic of the Marshall Islands radioactive contamination:
The Forum recognised 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 towards the people of the Marshall Islands, who had been, and continue to be, adversely affected as a direct result of nuclear weapons test conducted by the United States of America during its administration of the islands under the UN Trusteeship mandate.
The Forum again reiterated its call on the United States of America to live up to its full obligations on the provision of adequate and fair compensation and the commitment to its responsibility for the safe resettlement of displaced populations, including the full and final restoration to economic productivity of all affected areas.
Marine Mammals Protection in the South Pacific
39. The Forum noted recent developments in multilateral regional and domestic whale protection and while noting the strong reservations of some members invited members to declare their respective waters as whale sanctuaries, if they have not already done so, and to inform the Forum of progress at its 36th Session in 2005 and welcomed the declaration or establishment of national sanctuaries or other protection measures by Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu
40. Leaders also noted the need for increased scientific knowledge concerning the benefits of marine mammal sanctuaries and requested SPREP to complete a comprehensive scientific assessment of the interaction of whales and fisheries in the South Pacific drawing on expertise in the region including from governments and other regional agencies. Leaders further noted SPREP’s Whale and Dolphin Action Plan for 2003-2007 which provided a comprehensive framework for future work.
OTHER ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
41. Leaders noted that despite the growing number of FFA members with appropriate FFA VMS legislation, full implementation of the system in accordance with the Leaders’
decision in Palau in October 1999 had not yet been achieved. As the FFA VMS would only be fully effective if all FFA members apply such legislation requiring fishing vessels fitted with FFA VMS equipment to keep them switched on at all times while the vessels are operating in their respective EEZs, Leaders impressed on those members that had not fully implemented the FFA VMS the need to do so with urgency.
42. Leaders noted new developments on the Extended Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries with the United States and urged members which were Parties to the Multilateral Treaty on Fisheries with the United States that had not completed their ratification of the amendments to the Extended Treaty to do so at the earliest opportunity. Leaders also noted the progress in considering the proposal for mesh-size restrictions for tuna purse-seine vessels.
43. Leaders welcomed Tokelau’s assumption of membership of the Forum Fisheries Agency.
Western and Central Pacific Tuna Convention
44. Leaders welcomed progress made at the third and fourth Preparatory Conferences for the implementation of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Convention and progress made in the implementation of the Convention. Leaders also welcomed with appreciation the participation of Japan in the Preparatory Conference.
45. Leaders noted that seven Forum members had ratified the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Convention and urged those Forum members that had not ratified the Convention to do so as a matter of urgency.
46. Leaders noted that the next Preparatory Conference would be held in Rarotonga, Cook Islands from 29 September to 3 October 2003 and urged all members of the Preparatory Conference to support the concept of the special requirements fund to facilitate the effective participation of Pacific Island Developing States to be financed from assessed contributions of members of the Commission.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ISSUES
HIV/AIDS – Progress Report
47. Leaders expressed serious concern over the continued rate of HIV/AIDS transmission in Forum Island Countries and acknowledged that HIV/AIDS as a developmental issue could have a devastating impact on the economies, societies and the security of the region. Leaders noted progress made in dealing with HIV/AIDS especially with the Global Fund, AusAID and UN programmes, as well as the excellent work done by non-governmental organisations and that a Regional Strategy would be presented to the 2004 Forum. Leaders affirmed that strong government leadership generated the most effective responses to HIV/AIDS and committed to implementing their national HIV/AIDS strategies and addressing some of the constraints faced by their national programmes.
48. Australia announced that it would contribute $12.5 million over 5 years to the Pacific Region HIV/AIDS project.
49. Leaders noted the significant social and economic burden of Non-Communicable Diseases in the region and recognised the ongoing work on Non-Communicable Diseases, nationally, regionally and internationally, in particular, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s lead role in the Pacific region. Leaders supported the need for Ministries of Health to take a stewardship role in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases and to create an enabling environment for healthy lifestyles and for ongoing surveillance of Non-Communicable Diseases in Pacific Island Countries, as highlighted in the Tonga commitment by Ministers of Health.
Disability – Progress Report
50. Leaders endorsed the Biwako Millennium Framework for Action as providing a set of goals and targets that Pacific island countries could work toward over the next ten years. They acknowledged that immediate priorities for Pacific governments should be to address policy that would dismantle barriers and improve access and coordination for the disabled.
51. Leaders also encouraged regional and international organisations to continue coordinated research that would assist policy development and enhance awareness in Pacific communities.
Report on the Third World Water Forum
52. Leaders recognised the critical importance of water to the sustainable development of Pacific island countries and endorsed the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Water Management, Communiqué and Ministerial Declaration, and its associated Type II Partnership Initiatives. Leaders welcomed and endorsed the outcomes of the ‘Water in Small Island Countries’ theme at the 3rd World Water Forum including the Joint Caribbean-Pacific Programme for Action on Water and Climate Session Statement and priority actions.
53. Post Forum Dialogue Partners were encouraged to consider assisting in the implementation of the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Water Management. Leaders welcomed the support offered through the Okinawa Initiative by Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and the European Union’s offer to host a side event on water at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD12).
REGIONAL COOPERATION AND INTEGRATION
54. Leaders agreed that the serious challenges, both old and new, facing the countries of the region warranted serious and careful examination of the pooling of scarce regional resources to strengthen national capabilities. Ideas and proposals being put forward by the Leaders (aviation and shipping scoping studies, police training initiative, renewable energy and waste management) should be pursued with urgency and with the goal of producing practical outcomes as soon as possible.
55. Leaders agreed in principle to support the Pacific Regional Policing initiative, focussing on training and capacity building, jointly announced by the Prime Ministers of Australia, Fiji and New Zealand.
56. On the aviation scoping study proposal, the Leaders agreed that this should go ahead, but look beyond the concept of a regional airline to cover the regional aviation system including aviation safety, pricing and service efficiency for all members. The Government of Australia would fund the study.
57. At the request of the Leaders, and reflecting the ongoing concerns of the Pacific Island Countries over the difficulties faced with shipping in the region, the Government of Australia also agreed to fund a scoping study on shipping.
FORUM REVIEW PROCESS
58. Leaders agreed to carry out a review of the Forum and its Secretariat. The Chair is to prepare a draft terms of reference, reflecting Leaders’ discussion on regional cooperation and integration. The Chair will circulate the draft direct to Leaders and to the Secretary General for comment by the end of August 2003.
59. The review will follow a similar process as the 1995 exercise. It will be conducted by an Eminent Persons Group from the region supported by specialist advice. All appointments will be cleared with Leaders. Following further regional consultation a draft review report will be circulated to Leaders for comment by the end of November 2003. The report will then be finalised and cleared by Leaders before the end of the year and implementation could begin with the arrival of the new Secretary General.
60. Leaders also agreed that the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific contribute to the Review and for the Eminent Persons Group to also look at the Council’s Charter.
61. The Leaders noted the important role that representatives of civil society are playing in the development of the Pacific Islands. In this regard, Leaders resolved to include in the Forum Review Process an examination of enhancing the interaction between the Forum and civil society.
62. The Leaders agreed to incorporate Palau’s proposal on waste recycling into the Regional Waste Management strategy being developed by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.
63. Leaders also directed the Energy Working Group of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific to review the Pacific Islands Energy Policy and Plan (PIEPP) in light of Palau’s initiative to strengthen the renewable energy components of the strategic plan.
Regional and Sub-regional Fuel Depot
64. Leaders agreed that the Secretariat should examine Nauru’s proposal for a regional/sub-regional fuel depot as a way of improving the supply and reduce the price of fuel in the Pacific.
65. The Leaders noted the increasing importance of sports in the social, cultural and economic life of the Pacific Islands. In this regard, Leaders welcomed Australia’s initiative to undertake the first ever comprehensive assessment of sports development in the South Pacific region as part of the successful Australia-South Pacific 2006 sports programme (ASP 2006). Leaders noted with appreciation Australia’s invitation for Forum Island Countries to submit project proposals.
66. Leaders agreed to take up with the Australian and New Zealand Rugby Unions the concerns of Pacific Island Countries regarding the eligibility rules under the International Rugby Board (IRB) and their adverse impact on the development of the game in the islands. The Leaders also resolved that the Forum should ask the IRB to address the lack of Pacific Island Countries’ representation on the Board.
VISA MATTERS AMONG PACIFIC ISLAND FORUM MEMBERS
67. Leaders noted that work was ongoing on visa matters among Pacific Islands Forum members, as raised at the 2002 Forum, and they would be advised when this work was completed.
68. Concerned to ensure the successful implementation of the Noumea Accord, the Leaders asked the Forum Ministerial Committee on New Caledonia to visit and review the situation in New Caledonia and to report back at next year’s Forum.
69. Leaders noted the political and constitutional developments in French Polynesia and agreed to pursue a visit to French Polynesia once the constitutional review was completed.
70. Leaders thanked the Government of Japan for the valuable meeting between themselves and the Prime Minister of Japan, HE Mr Junichiro Koizumi in May 2003 and the significant step forward for the development of the region represented by the Okinawa Initiative. Leaders welcomed the intention to continue triennial meetings
Oceania-France Informal Meeting
71. Leaders noted the success of the recent Oceania-France informal meeting held in Papeete, French Polynesia in July 2003, and welcomed the commitments of assistance made by the French Government during the meeting. Leaders also welcomed the offer by France to meet again in Paris in 2006.
SMALLER ISLAND STATES
72. The Leaders noted the decisions of the Smaller Island States Summit as summarised in its report at Annex 3.
73. Leaders noted decisions and outcomes of the Pacific ACP Leaders’ Meeting, and the Melanesian Spearhead Group Meeting (at Annex 4). They also noted the strong support that the Pacific ACP Leaders had given to the Small Economies’ Work Programme established (under paragraph 35 of the Doha Declaration), particularly on the proposals tabled by Small Economies in the WTO that will address the trade-related problems.
74. Forum Leaders reiterated their support for special autonomy for Papua which they considered to offer realistic prospects for peaceful resolution of the situation in Papua. Noting that the 2001 special autonomy law had yet to be fully implemented, they urged the sovereign authority, Indonesia, to expedite promulgation of the necessary regulations and to take other steps needed to give effect to special autonomy.
75. Leaders expressed concern about the continuing violence in Papua and called on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua and to resolve differences by peaceful means. They also urged the Indonesian authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of serious crimes committed in the province of Papua.
76. Forum Leaders strongly supported the reappointment of the Rt Hon Don McKinnon to the position of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2003.
77. The Forum commended the outgoing Chairman, Hon Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister of Fiji, and his Government for his leadership of the Forum over the past year.
APPOINTMENT OF SECRETARY GENERAL
78. Leaders agreed to appoint Mr Greg Urwin as the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for a three year term commencing in January 2004. In doing so, Forum Leaders expressed their deep appreciation to the outgoing Secretary General, Mr W Noel Levi, CBE, for his significant and valued contribution to the strengthening of the region during his six years in office.
79. The Forum Leaders welcomed Niue’s offer to host the 2004 Forum and related meetings in mid August 2004.
FORUM DECLARATION ON SOLOMON ISLANDS
Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, welcomed the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
2. Recalling the Outcome Statement issued by Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers at their meeting in Sydney on 30 June 2003, Leaders warmly commended the swift and cooperative response of Forum members in deploying the agreed policing operation to help restore law and order, supported by armed peace-keepers, and a programme of assistance to strengthen the justice system and restore the economy and basic services.
3. Leaders expressed their pleasure at the strong support within Solomon Islands for the assistance programme, as evidenced by a unanimous resolution of the Solomon Islands Parliament, unanimous passage of enabling legislation, and formal invitation letters from the Governor-General, acting on the Advice of Cabinet, to Australia, and to Forum members via the Forum Chair, requesting assistance as endorsed by Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers.
4. Leaders noted that in responding to the request of the Solomon Islands Government, Forum members would at all times be acting to reinforce Solomon Islands sovereignty and in accordance with Solomon Islands law. They also noted that the success of the operation would depend on continuing close cooperation with the Solomon Islands Government public sector agencies, community organizations and the people of Solomon Islands.
5. Leaders expressed their appreciation of the contribution being made by personnel from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Tonga, and noted with further appreciation that police from other Forum members would be deployed shortly.
6. Leaders warmly welcomed statements from the Secretaries-General of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth supporting their collaborative action in support of Solomon Islands.
7. Leaders were heartened by reports from the Prime Ministers of the Solomon Islands and Australia on the current situation in Honiara following arrival of RAMSI, including the strong positive community reaction and support and the marked improvement in law and order. They particularly welcomed initial achievements, especially weapons surrenders. They called on Solomon Islanders to do all in their power to ensure the assistance programme delivered lasting benefits and peace to all.
8. Leaders acknowledged that recovering in Solomon Islands would be a long-term task, extending beyond the restoration of law and order to economic and governance rehabilitation and reform. In so doing, they recorded their view that the 2000 Biketawa Declaration had proved its value by enabling the rapid mobilisation of support to address the serious situation.
9. Leaders noted the intention of Prime Ministers Kemakeza and Howard to report jointly on a quarterly basis to leaders via the Forum Chair on progress made. They also noted that mechanisms would be put in place for RAMSI to provide frequent briefing for the Chair to report to Forum countries on a regular basis.
Auckland, New Zealand
15 August 2003
FORUM PRINCIPLES OF GOOD LEADERSHIP
Key principles of good governance which we hold to be fundamental to good leadership.
RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT
i) Respect for and upholding of democratic processes and institutions, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and the legislature to: -
a) Allow for the peaceful and lawful transfer of power; and
b) Respect and promote the separation of powers by ensuring the financial autonomy of the judiciary and Parliament, and ensure that the judiciary and Parliament are free from unlawful interference by the executive.
ii) Upholding a just, fair and honest government through:
a) Respect for and enforcement of the decisions of courts and independent tribunals;
b) Enforcement of lawful instructions and lawfully created policies
c) Compliance with the letter and spirit of the laws, which are made for the benefit of the public;
d) Disclosure of fraud, corruption and mal-administration, of which the leader has become aware;
e) Refraining from exertion of pressure, and abuse of persons carrying out their lawful duties;
f) Refraining from using any legal immunity or privilege as a cloak or shield for behaviour of a lower ethical standard than that reasonably expected of the leader by citizens;
g) Establishing and empowering bodies, such as an Ombudsman Commission, to independently investigate public complaints against government actions;
h) Ensuring that the Auditor General reports directly and in a timely manner to Parliament/Congress.
iii) Protection of fundamental human rights.
RESPECT FOR CULTURAL VALUES, CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
Respect for cultural values, customs, traditions and indigenous rights and observation of traditional protocols in the exercise of power.
RESPECT FOR FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Respect for religious belief and practice.
RESPECT FOR PEOPLE ON WHOSE BEHALF LEADERS EXERCISE POWER
i) Proper use of official powers;
ii) Honesty in dealing with the people and Parliament, with any misleading information corrected at the earliest practical opportunity
iii) Publicising information on legal wrongdoing, ethical lapses and false or misleading statements;
iv) Giving priority to official duties over private interests;
v) Performance of public duties uninfluenced by fear of personal cost or any hope of personal benefit;
vi) Public and private conduct that does not lead to a conflict of interest, or in which the fair and impartial exercise of duties might be compromised;
vii) Ensuring that public facilities are used only for public purposes, and not for personal purposes unless authorised by legislation or by a public decision of Cabinet;
RESPECT FOR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
Treatment of members of the public honestly and fairly with proper regard for their rights and obligations.
ECONOMY AND EFFICIENCY
Ensuring that public resources are not wasted, abused, or used improperly or extravagantly.
i) Exercise of proper diligence, care, and attention;
ii) Always seeking to achieve high standards of public administration.
NATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY
i) Promotion of peace, security and harmony;
ii) Refusal to give or obey an illegal order to use force against another citizen.
RESPECT FOR OFFICE
i) Exercise authority and interact with people in a manner that is open, transparent, accountable, participatory and decisive but fair and equitable.
ii) Seek to strengthen the integrity of a leader’s Office and its effectiveness.
SMALLER ISLAND STATES
TWELFTH SIS LEADERS’ SUMMIT
Auckland, New Zealand
14 August 2003
SUMMARY OF DECISIONS
The Forum’s Smaller Island States (SIS) Summit was held on 14 August 2003 in Auckland, New Zealand. Leaders from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, the Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu attended. The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands. Leaders welcomed attendance by CROP organisations and the representative of the Pacific Forum Line.
2. The Summit resolved to continue to address the issue of the inadequacy of international air links among themselves through cooperative actions and, in particular, reaffirmed cooperation among Central Pacific nations on working towards the establishment of a sub-regional airline.
Small Grant Funds
3. Leaders of the SIS thanked donors for their support through programmes addressing the special concerns of SIS members and urged the donor community to consider increasing this support.
Shipment of Radioactive Materials
4. Reiterating their continuing grave concerns over the shipment of radioactive materials through the region, SIS Leaders further urged the engagement of the shipping States and for work to be undertaken on identifying alternative mechanisms including legal, political and diplomatic measures to raise the profile of the region’s concerns. The Summit called on shipping states to meet with Forum members to discuss and address their concerns.
5. The SIS Leaders adjourned their meeting to November 2003 to be convened in the Cook Islands.
MELANESIAN SPEARHEAD GROUP STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN, HON SIR ALLAN KEMAKEZA, PRIME MINISTER OF SOLOMON ISLANDS, FORUM LEADERS SUMMIT, 16TH AUGUST 2003, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Madam Chair, I am duty bound as Chairman of the MSG to brief this Forum on the outcome of our meeting held last week in Gizo, Solomon Islands.
MSG Permanent Secretariat
I am pleased to report that the MSG Leaders have agreed to establish a Permanent Secretariat in Port Vila. It is envisioned that the Secretariat should be operational by 2004 and will hopefully coordinate the implementation of agreed MSG decisions.
Forum Intervention Force
The leaders noted the progress of the Forum Regional Force and noted the need for closer consultation on receiving progressive reports of the intervention. I am pleased to note that the matter has been addressed by this Forum of which my colleague John Howard and myself will be reporting to members quarterly through the Forum Chair. This of course complements other communication mechanisms now in place between RAMSI and the Forum Chair.
Regional Security Force
The MSG leaders also supported the concept of having a standing regional force of which we are grateful that the Forum Regional Security Committee has examined at its June meeting this year and agreed to look into the concept in detail at some stage. Given the experience of Solomon Islands and the vulnerability of our states to natural disasters, the MSG members feel that a mechanism needs to be put in place to respond immediately to any disaster within the region.
MSG Trade Agreement
On the MSG Trade Agreement, I wish to report to the Summit that the Agreement is currently under review with the view of liberalising trade more efficiently and effectively amongst the MSG states. The leaders agreed to extend the arrangement to New Caledonia, and seeks New Caledonia’s consideration in joining the Trade Arrangement.
French Polynesia Observer Status
The MSG leaders noted a statement presented by Oscar Temaru, Mayor of Faaa and his delegation’s request to have French Polynesia listed on the UN decolonisation list. The MSG leaders also noted the effort of the Forum in opening up avenues of incorporating US and French Territories into PICTA and PACER. The MSG leaders are heartened to note French
Polynesia’s interest in engaging more closely with the region and look forward to the report of the Forum’s subcommittee on French Polynesia’s proposed visit to the Territory sometime next year to examine French Polynesia’s constitutional status.
The leaders noted with concern the lack of implementation of certain provisions of the Noumea Accord in particular the electoral process and issues relating to New Caledonia’s referendum process. The MSG leaders noted that the Forum Ministerial Committee on New Caledonia would be visiting the Territory next year. The leaders urge the Committee amongst other issues to pay special focus on the two cited issues. The leaders look forward to the Committee’s report.
Madam Chair, with these few words I finally wish to close and request that this statement be attached to the Communiqué.