Annual Pacific Islands Forum meeting kicks off in Tuvalu

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SUVA, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The 50th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) meeting officially kicked off on Tuesday night in Funafuti, capital of Tuvalu, with the participation of leaders and representatives from the regional organization's 18 member countries.

According to a press release by PIF Secretariat on Tuesday, PIF Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor said that the annual meeting takes place at a very important time in the history of their future in the Pacific region.

"This meeting takes place at a pivotal moment in the history of our future in the Pacific. Our people look to their leaders to see their way through national priorities, geo-politics and agendas to come together as a strong collective," Taylor said.

"I wish our leaders well for their discussions, and we thank the Prime Minister and all the people of Tuvalu for their open hearts and generous hosting of the Blue Pacific family this week," she added.

Tuvalu's Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said ahead of the opening ceremony that they meet not only for the people of Tuvalu, not only for their Blue Pacific family, they meet for the world.

Sopoaga, new PIF chair, also urged leaders of the regional organization's member countries to work together to tackle climate change.

"Our work this week is about the survival of all our Pacific people, the protection of our islands and our great Ocean. We must turn commitments into action and demonstrate leadership to navigate the climate emergency by working together," Sopoaga said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the leaders of the Pacific's nine smallest countries met in Funafuti, calling for an immediate end to coal, divestment from fossil fuels, and a rapid step-up in action on climate change.

During the four-day meeting with the theme of "Securing Our Future in the Pacific", the PIF leaders will mainly discuss issues such as climate change, economic development, maritime security and marine pollution.

On Friday, the PIF leaders will meet with all Forum Dialogue Partners such as China with a focus on greater global action on combatting climate change and protection the ocean.

Founded as an inter-governmental organization in 1971, PIF aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of the Pacific region. Enditem

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