Leaders from 15 nations of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) concluded their summit on Wednesday with the adoption of a forum communique and the Niue Declaration on Climate Change.
The leaders discussed a number of issues, including the implementation of the Pacific Plan, food and energy security, climate change and Fiji situation, and achieved positive outcomes, Niuean Premier Toke Talagi told a press conference after a whole day of retreat of the Forum leaders.
Talagi is chairing in the coming year the 16-member PIF, which groups Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Nauru, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Micronesia, Kiribati, Niue, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. Fiji announced to pull out of the summit just two days ahead of the opening.
The leaders, who meet annually to develop collective responses to regional issues, agreed to appoint Tuiloma Slade, a veteran diplomat from Samoa, as the new Secretary General of the PIF Secretariat for a three-year term, said Talagi.
In their Forum Communique, the leaders noted that considerable progress had been made in implementing initiatives of the Pacific Plan, adopted by Forum leaders in October 2005 for strengthening regional cooperation and integration.
They also stressed the continuing need to set clear direction and targets for members, regional agencies and development partners.
Noting their concerns at rapid recent increases in food and fuel prices, leaders highlighted the critical importance of efforts to reduce dependence on oil through measures to improve energy efficiency and move towards greater use of renewable energy.
Leaders also underlined the need for urgent action to bring the bulk petroleum purchase initiative, a move to join the force of small island countries to lower fuel prices, to fruition.
With climate change as this year's main theme, Forum leaders expressed their deep concerns over the serious current impacts of and growing threat posed by climate change to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being and security of Pacific island countries.
Coupled with the region's vulnerability, existing challenges are expected to be exacerbated and lead to significant impacts on Pacific countries' environment, their sustainable development and future survival, the leaders said in their Niue Declaration on Climate Change.
They stressed the importance of cooperating towards the establishment of an effective post-2012 framework in which all major economies will participate in a responsible manner.
The next PIF summit will be held in Australia.
(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)