SIS Leaders Conclude 17th Summit In Niue
SIS Leaders Conclude 17th Summit In Niue
The 17th Summit of the Leaders of Smaller Islands States (SIS) within the Pacific Forum has concluded in Niue today with agreement on several issues including a directive to the Forum Secretariat to ensure finalization of a package of measures for the bulk procurement of petroleum products in the region as quickly as possible for signing by Leaders.
The Premier of Niue, Hon. Toke Talagi chaired the meeting and was attended by the Leaders of Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Republic of Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. Palau was represented by its Minister of State as the President’s Special Envoy.
The package of measures for bulk procurement of petroleum products will include a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which will outline the principles of collaboration, a regional negotiating machinery compromising of a project manager that will provide support and secretariat to the project committee.
Officials are to further negotiate the MOA with the aim to taking it to the Forum Economic Ministers meeting in October to be finalized and to the Pacific Energy Ministers Meeting next year.
SIS Leaders noted the good progress made on the implementation of the Pacific Plan, the importance of the work of the Secretariat’s SIS Unit and the valuable work of the SIS desk officers in their respective countries in supporting the implementation of the Plan .
The Leaders welcomed activities implemented by the Secretariat thus far in advancing and supporting the initiative on labour mobility. These included on-going trade negotiations; assisting Members prepare themselves with their negotiations under the PICTA Arrangement; undertaking discussions with the World Bank to assist kick start states strengthen their capacities to market their labour and exploring other avenues to expand the markets for labour for Member countries.
They noted the ongoing involvement of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in monitoring and evaluating the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme (RSES) through continued dialogue with the New Zealand Labour Department.
The Leaders welcomed the Australian labour mobility scheme and those SIS members included the scheme expressed their sincere appreciation. However, there were concerns raised for some of the SIS who were not included in the first phase of the Australian Labour scheme. They urged Australia to expand their scheme to include other members of SIS.
The Leaders agreed to task the Forum Secretariat together with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to continue to work on the Regional Shipping Service Agreement and to consider the option of the acquisition of a purpose built vessel to address the challenges face by SIS.
The SIS Leaders requested the Forum Secretariat and the SPC to quickly hold a meeting of those countries involved to discuss the best way to proceed with the feeder shipping service.
The Leaders also agreed to engage other assistance including possibly from the Post-Forum Partners, development partners and other organizations.
On emerging health issues in the SIS, the Leaders noted the importance of regional agencies to assist member countries to implement action in their health priorities and the excellent work the SPC is doing in support of SIS members in addressing health issues.
The SIS Leaders noted the inadequacy of resources available under the international financing mechanisms to assist Pacific Island Countries implement concrete adaptation projects on the ground. They directed the Forum Secretariat to work with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to assist SIS to build their capacity to access the financial resources for effectively addressing the challenges posed by climate change.
They asked the Secretariat to consult further with member countries on the content and findings of the study report on the sub-regional financing mechanism and make recommendations on the future course of action for the sub-regional financing facility initiative.
The SIS Leaders agreed in principle to the strengthening of the regional meteorological service. They invited SPREP, with support from Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and Regional Meteorological Services Directors to develop an institutional framework to support the management of the provision of sustainable regional meteorological services for consideration by Forum Leaders in 2009.
The 18th SIS Leaders Summit will be held immediately prior to the 40th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting next year.