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One step forward, two steps back at Pacific Forum

*One step forward, two steps back at Pacific Islands Forum*

*Port Moresby, Thursday, October 27, 2005 *Pacific Island leaders meeting at the 36th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) have taken "one step forward and two steps back" according to Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

"The decision to develop a regional agreement on bottom trawling is a step forward to address this destructive practice. This lays the groundwork for Pacific countries to be leaders in supporting the international call for a ban on high seas bottom trawling," said Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner, Lagi Toribau.

"Greenpeace welcomes the leadership of Palau and other Pacific Island nations in addressing this threat to our ocean biodiversity."

Yet the Pacific Islands Forum and Pacific Plan missed a number of key opportunities including:

* Dealing with the Pacific's continuing reliance on imported polluting diesel for transport and power generation, and associated energy insecurity. This issues will not be adequately addressed by bulk purchasing and expanding existing storage facilities;

* Extending the consultation period of the Pacific Plan to address concerns about the input and involvement of Pacific Island peoples;

* Not agreeing to implement a strategy for the cessation of transport of nuclear waste through Pacific waters as outlined in the SIDS statement from Mauritius.

This year's Pacific Island Forum has been dominated by discussions on the adoption of a Pacific Plan for Regional Cooperation and Integration (the Pacific Plan).

"Despite the rhetoric about security in the Plan, it currently fails to deliver true security for Pacific Island communities, such as health, food and real energy security," Mr Toribau said.

"This will leave a legacy that means communities will have to live with the leaders' failure to make the decisions needed to have strong economies, healthy environments and peaceful nations - true and lasting security."

"Greenpeace will continue to monitor implementation of the Pacific Plan, and will push for measures that move the Pacific towards prosperous and stable societies and the basic conditions for 'true security'; secure access to resources, transparent political and financial systems, and a stable and clean environment," Mr Toribau concluded.

ENDS

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