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PFDP to discuss environment, resource protection
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Delegates from 14 countries of the Post Forum Dialogues Partners (PFDP) ended their annual plenary on Thursday after discussions on climate change, food and energy security and regional economic growth.

As part of the agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), the regional organization in Pacific has held PFDP meeting at Ministerial level since 1989. The PFDP groups: Canada, China, the European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Britain and the United States.

Niuean Premier Toke Talagi declared the opening of the plenary, welcoming the delegates traveling long way for the meeting to improve their relationships and to "help each other, help the Pacific, help the countries."

Noting the vulnerability of small Pacific Island nations to increasing food price, Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Samuel Abal called for short-term measures to provide immediate relief to those that are struggling and longer term measures to boost agriculture trade and production.

He also encouraged PFD partners to work with regional agencies to address the constraints to food security and identify areas for future collaborative efforts.

Energy supply, another common problem faced by small Pacific Islands countries, was also among one of the top topics.

Litokwa Tomeing, MP President of Marshal Islands, noted that the Pacific region is particularly vulnerable in the context of energy supply where the nations are predominantly reliant on the use of imported fossil fuels for their energy and transportation sectors.

He expressed appreciation the Forum leaders' efforts on the development of a strategy for the bulk procurement of petroleum products and to increase the development of renewable energy resources.

Following the agenda of PIF summit, climate change was further discussed in the PFDP plenary.

In his speech, Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Labor of Tuvalu Enele Sopoaga said the climate change has posed threats to the Pacific island people and it needs international efforts to reduce the threats and make the development in the region sustainable.

He said the Pacific Island countries have undertaken great efforts in reducing the emissions and tackling the climate change, but all the efforts would be in vain unless there was concerted international action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to finance the adaptation of vulnerable countries in the region.

"At the international level we need your support in negotiating a much more robust framework for action on climate change than what we currently have in place," he told the 14 partners attending the Post-Forum dialogue meeting. These dialogue partners include China, the United States, India, Japan and the European Union."

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi, head of the Chinese delegation, noted China's stands on climate change, energy crisis and food security, vowing continued assistance to Pacific Islands countries in these fields.

One day earlier, heads of government from 15 nations of the 16- member PIF concluded their two-day summit with the adoption of a forum communique on regional growth and the Niue Declaration on Climate Change.

A series of bilateral meetings will be held after Thursday's plenary.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2008)

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