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Pacific Foreign Ministers call on international partners to support resilience efforts in the region

 

Pacific countries must lead national and regional efforts to support disaster preparedness and build resilience to disasters. This was the clear message at last week’s meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers in Sydney, Australia. The meeting called on international partners, regional organisations, the private sector and civil society organisations to support government-led processes for disaster-related assistance.

Foreign Ministers shared recent experiences from the devastation of Tropical Cyclones Pam and Raquel and Typhoon Maysak and highlighted the importance of flexible and accessible funding to underpin preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.  

“This gathering of Forum Foreign Ministers highlights how countries can help each other in times of need, as a Pacific family,” remarked Minister Julie Bishop of Australia, as she highlighted a range of Australia’s efforts to support improved preparation, capacity and risk reduction, including practical measures such as the pre-positioning of emergency supplies in the region. 

Ministers recognised the importance of investments in multi-hazard early warning systems, transport and telecommunications infrastructure as cornerstones to enhanced resilience for Pacific peoples and countries. They agreed to explore opportunities to increase collaboration with the private sector in this regard.

A regional response to addressing risks associated with disasters and climate change was discussed through the development of the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilience in the Pacific. “The Strategy seeks to build resilience by addressing natural and human made hazards in an integrated, systematic and effective manner,” said Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Dame Meg Taylor.

International partners were also discussed in the context of the Post-Forum Dialogue. “This annual high-level political dialogue is the central platform for the Forum’s political engagement with recognised partners,” stated Forum Chair, Vice-President Antonio Bells of Palau, “we need to do more work with our Post-Forum Dialogue partners to support the Forum’s regional agenda.”

Minister Murray McCully of New Zealand pointed to the important role for Foreign Ministers within the Forum. “Forum Leaders have asked for the space to discuss priority strategic issues during their annual Forum meetings, a standing Forum Foreign Ministers meeting would give them this space by taking responsibility for the more detailed conversations.”

Forum Foreign Ministers’ identified opportunities to strengthen international engagement that would inform the upcoming 46th Pacific Islands Forum and related Post-Forum Dialogue Plenary  from 7-11 September, 2015, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The outcomes of the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting can be found at:http://www.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/political-governance-security/forum-leaders-meeting/forum-foreign-ministers-meeting.html

For further information, please contact media@forumsec.org.

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