43rd Pacific Islands Forum Develops Leaders Communique

PIFS30 August 2012: The 43rd Pacific Islands Forum convened in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands, from 28-30 August 2012, under the theme of “Large Oceans Island States – the Pacific Challenge.” Issues discussed at the meeting included the outcomes of the recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the Oceanscape initiative, climate change, and radioactive contaminants in the Marshall Islands. The 43rd PIF Communique includes the key commitments of Pacific Leaders.

On the outcomes of Rio+20, Leaders: welcome the decision to convene the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in 2014; endorse the hosting of the Conference in the Pacific region; and call on development partners to demonstrate their support for the success of the 2014 Conference and its preparatory process. The Communique also calls on the UN system to clearly map out a merged process for the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) paths at the 67th UN General Assembly (UNGA), and for Pacific representation on the SDGs Working Group and the Finance Working Group proposed in the UNCSD outcome document.

On oceans, Leaders applaud increased interest in investment in Pacific fisheries and oceans, including in the context of the Global Partnership for Oceans, but reiterate the need for such investment to be designed and implemented to contribute to the achievement of national priorities and align with existing regional frameworks. Leaders also endorse the priorities identified in the Oceanscape Framework for initial funding support, including finalizing national maritime boundary arrangements, developing marine spatial planning, and providing support to strengthen collaborative ocean governance.

On climate change, the Communique welcomes Australia's commitment of AUD$58 million in new funding over four years to support Forum Island Countries (FICs) with improved data on weather, climate and sea levels to inform climate change adaptation planning, as well as new support for communities to build resilience to natural disasters.

On radioactive contaminants in the Marshall Islands, the Communique recognizes their continued presence, and reaffirms the special responsibility of the US Government towards the people of the Marshall Islands, who continue to be affected as a direct result of UN nuclear weapon testing. Leaders reiterate their call to the US to provide adequate compensation, safely resettle displaced populations, and fully restore the economic productivity and human enjoyment of all affected areas. Leaders also encourage Forum Members to support the Marshall Islands on these issues at the UNGA, the UN Security Council, and other international fora, including in September when the Special Rapporteur presents his findings to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

The meeting was attended by Australia, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu. [43rd Pacific Islands Forum Communique] [PIFS Press Release]