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Special Leaders’ Summit Communique

SPECIAL LEADERS’ SUMMIT
Tanoa International Hotel
Nadi, Fiji

02 September 2011
COMMUNIQUE

_____________________________________________________________________

1. The Chairman of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), in consultation with other MSG Leaders, agreed to convene a Special Meeting of the MSG Leaders at the Tanoa International Hotel, Nadi, Fiji on 02 September 2011.

2. The Special Meeting was hosted by the Chairman of the MSG and Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. MSG Leaders in attendance included the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Hon. Peter O’Neill; the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Danny Philip; and Mr Simeon Athy, Director General to the Office of the Prime Minister of Vanuatu who deputized on behalf of the Prime Minister. The Front de Libération Nationale Kanak Socialiste (FLNKS) expressed their apologies for not been able to attend.

3. Also attending were Hon. Ano Pala, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration of PNG, Hon. Peter Shanel Agovaka, Minister of Foreign Affairs & External Trade of Solomon Islands, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Fiji, Mr Jean Sese, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade of Vanuatu who deputized on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs & External Trade, the MSG based heads of Missions in PNG and Fiji and the Officer-in-Charge of the MSG Secretariat, Mr Jean-Pierre Nirua.

4. The Leaders thanked the Government and people of Fiji for hosting the Special Summit which they considered very important for the organization and for solidarity and unity to the advancement of the region of Melanesia.

MSG Framework Treaty on Traditional Knowledge & Expressions of Culture

5. At their bi-annual Summit held in Suva Fiji on 31 March 2011, MSG Leaders had agreed in principle to the proposed MSG Framework Treaty on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Expressions of Culture (EC), pending decisions by members on the signing of the Treaty.


6. Today, the MSG Leaders, Prime Minister of Fiji, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama, the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Hon. Danny Philip signed the MSG Framework Treaty on TK & EC. The Treaty was an initiative of the MSG Council of Arts and Culture and formulated in partnership with the EU TradeCom in 2010.

7. The MSG Leaders highlighted that the signing of the Treaty marked a symbolic and historical development for the MSG members as it attempts to protect traditional knowledge holders and owners against any infringement of their rights; and protect MSG expressions of culture against misappropriation, misuse and unlawful exploitation. Leaders added that the MSG is founded on the principle of respect for and promotion of its Melanesian cultures, traditions and values and for its defence and promotion of independence as the inalienable right of indigenous peoples of Melanesia.

8. The key provisions of the Treaty include:

(i) Conferring on the owners and holders of the exclusive right to authorize the exploitation of their traditional knowledge and expressions of culture.
(ii) Conferring of the rights of owners of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture to conclude user agreements (involving a benefit sharing arrangement providing for equitable monetary or non-monetary compensation to the traditional owners) as approved by the Competent Authority.
(iii) All access, authorizations, assignments or user agreements granted in respect of protected traditional knowledge or expressions of culture shall be granted in writing, otherwise they shall be of no force or effect.
(iv) Ensuring that the protection to be extended to owners and holders of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture and include the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the commercial use of their knowledge and expressions of culture;
(v) Ensuring that any person using traditional knowledge or expressions of culture shall acknowledge the owners and holders of that knowledge or those expressions, indicate the source and, where possible, the origin, and use of such knowledge and expressions of culture in a manner that respects the cultural values of its owners and holders;
(vi) Fostering cooperative and collaborative activities including activities to enhance the protection and enforcement of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture, such as Cross border measures cooperation; and Networking of judicial authorities and enforcement agencies;
(vii) Ensuring that accessible and appropriate enforcement and dispute resolution mechanisms, sanctions and remedies are available where there is a breach of the provisions relating to the protection of traditional knowledge and expressions of culture; and
(viii) Ensuring that judgements of courts of competent authority of a MSG Member shall be enforceable in all signatory countries.

9. The Leaders noted that the Treaty will come into force three months after two States have deposited their instruments of ratification with the MSG Secretariat.
2013 Melanesian Games

10. The Leaders noted with appreciation the offer by the FLNKS to host the 2013 Melanesian Games. The Leaders agreed that this will allow the FLNKS the opportunity to show-case through sport, developments taking place in New Caledonia as they prepare for the 2014-2018 referendum. Furthermore, allowing the FLNKS to host the Games, demonstrates the collective support of MSG for the people of New Caledonia in their endeavour towards decolonization under the Noumea Accord.

MSG Candidate for the post of Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS)

11. In line with their March decision, the Leaders agreed to nominate Ambassador Kaliopate Tavola of Fiji as the joint MSG candidate for the position of the PIFS Secretary General.

Director General (DG) of the MSG Secretariat

12. The Leaders announced the appointment of Mr. Peter Forau from the Solomon Islands as the new Director General (DG) of the MSG Secretariat.

13. Mr Forau holds a Masters Degree in Development Assistance from the Australian National University (ANU). Prior to his appointment, Mr Forau worked with the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and also served as Deputy Secretary General of the PIFS for five (5) years. He also served as Permanent Secretary for three Ministries in Solomon Islands, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & External Trade.

14. Mr Forau replaces Mr Rima Ravusiro of PNG whose contract expired on 09 July 2011.

15. In acknowledging Mr Ravusiro’s contribution and achievements as the founding DG of the MSG Secretariat, the Leaders commended Mr Ravusiro for his leadership and guidance in the early years of establishment and pioneering the MSG Secretariat to where it is today.

16. The leaders paid tribute to Mr Ravusiro for his hard work and achievements over the past three (3) years in building the organization into an internationally recognized institution that promotes the needs and aspirations of the members; be it in the areas of trade, political emancipation and the decolonization process, regional security, law enforcement, economic and social development, or culture and sports; to name a few. The Leaders also recognized other milestone achievements in the development of key policy instruments of the young Secretariat, including: the Financial Regulations, the Contribution Formula, the Remuneration Policy with Staff Regulations, the Strategic and Corporate plans; all of which have been completed during Mr Ravusiro’s tenure amidst persistent funding and staffing constraints.

17. These achievements together with developments related to the logo, the flag and the website of the MSG Secretariat are testimonies of the legacy Mr Ravusiro has left behind for the new Director General and the staff to nurture and build from.

Tanoa International Hotel
Nadi, Fiji
02 September 2011

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Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister
Republic of Fiji


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Hon. Peter O’Neill MP

Prime Minister
Papua New Guinea


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Hon. Danny Philip MP

Prime Minister
Solomon Islands


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Mr Simeon Athy

Director General, Office of the Prime Minister
Republic of Vanuatu
(on behalf of the Prime Minister)

ENDS


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