The Pacific Islands Forum Officials Committee meetings begin in Apia today with an agenda that covers regional priorities including security, fisheries, climate change, resilient and sustainable development, trade, and ocean management.
The Forum’s Smaller Island States (SIS) grouping are the first to meet. The SIS represent the most vulnerable of Forum Island Countries and its membership comprises of Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Tuvalu. Their agenda is centred around the implementation the SIS strategy which focusses on 5 keys areas of collective action: climate change, health, labour, marine, and air and sea transportation.
Pacific officials representing the 15 members of the Africa, Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) group of states also meet today and high on their agenda are the upcoming negotiations with the European Union on the partnership arrangement that will replace the existing Cotonou agreement, which ends in 2020. The meeting will also consider updates on the 11th European Development Fund’s regional initiatives, as well as the progress of regional trade agreements, including the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA), and the Pacific ACP – EU Economic Partnership Agreement.
On Tuesday and Wednesday officials representing all 18 Forum members will meet to discuss the agenda for the 49th Pacific Islands Forum, which this year takes place under the theme: Building a Strong Pacific: Our People, Our Islands, Our Will. The Officials Committee will consider the Specialist Sub-Committee on Regionalism’s 2018 report which consolidates the information gathered during public consultations earlier this year and details progress of the Forum’s priority areas of action on regional security, climate change and disaster resilience, and fisheries.
Additionally, the Forum Officials Committee will discuss the Forum’s Foreign Policy and its Strategic Advocacy and Engagement Strategy, the first, quadrennial Pacific Sustainable Development Report, a revised Charter of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific, and an application from Wallis and Futuna for associate membership at the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Forum Officials Committee meetings conclude Wednesday. On Friday August 10th the Forum’s Foreign Ministers will also gather in Apia for their annual meeting.
The Forum Official Committee and Foreign Ministers meetings take place each year in the lead up to the Pacific Islands Forum. The 49th Pacific Islands Forum will be in Nauru between the 3rd and 6th of September 2018.