The Seventh South Pacific Forum was opened by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Nauru, President Hammer DeRoburt, O.B.E., M.P., in the Nauru Civic Centre on 26 July 1976. His Excellency warmly welcomed the Prime Ministers of Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Western Samoa; the Premiers of the Cook Islands and of Niue; the Chief Ministers of the Solomon Islands and of Tuvalu; the Acting Chief Minister of the Gilbert Islands; and the Minister for Industry and Commerce of Australia: His Excellency also welcomed the Director of SPEC and delegation officials.
Environmental Conservation in the South Pacific
Law of the Sea
Report of the Aid Review Task Force
Regional Shipping Project
Regional Civil Aviation
14. The Forum considered the report of the first meeting of the South Pacific Regional Civil Aviation Council which had been held in Suva on 8 and 9 July 1976, and endorsed the following priority areas for investigation by the Council:
Annual Report of SPEC
Date and Venue of Next Forum Meeting
28 July 1976
SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM MEETING ON LAW OF THE SEA
SPEC HEAD QUARTERS SUVA 13-14 OCTOBER, 1976
In accordance with the declaration issued by the Seventh South Pacific Forum held in Nauru from 26-28 July 1975, m Forum meeting on the Law of the Sea was convened by SPEC in Suva on 13 and l4 October, 1975, to consider the timing and terms of the creation of 200 mile zones; the problems and opportunities associated with them; the conservation of marin2 resources; the possible creation of a South Pacific iishari2s agency; and the prospects for joint action and regional co-operation in matters such as surveillance and policing. The meeting was preceded by informal discussions at head of delegation leve1 on 12 October 1976.
The meeting was formally opened on 13 October 1976 by the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, Hon Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau who welcomed Forum L2aders and delegates. The Acting Prime Minister referred to the importance of the resources of the sue to the Pacific island countries and said that it was vital that those countries secure rights to control those resources around their islands and hove the capability to safeguard and harvest th2m for the benefit of Pacific island peoples. In this endeavour there was a need to take regional co-operative action.
The meeting was attended by the President of the Republic of Nauru, the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Tonga,and Western Samoa, the Acting Prime Minister of Fiji, the Premiers of the Cook Islands and Niue, the Chief Ministers of the Gilbert Islands, the Solomon Islands end Tuvalu, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia and the Minister for Justice of Papua New Guinea. The Minister for Labour of Fiji represented the Government of Fiji when the Acting Prime Minister was unable to be present. The Acting Prime Minister of Fiji the Hon Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau was elected as chairman of the meeting and Sir Albert Henry, Premier of the Cook Islands deputy chairman. The Prime Minister of Western Samoa Tupuola Efi was appointed press spokesman for the meeting.
The meeting reviewed developments at the recent , Fifth Session of the Law of the Sea Conference, concentrating on aspects of special relevance to the South Pacific.
The meeting made a joint Declaration underlining the common concern to achieve a new and comprehensive international Convention on the Law of the Sea which would take account of the interests of the region. The Declaration is attached.
10 October 1976
SEVENTH SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM NAURU, 26-28 JULY 1976
DECLARATION ON LAW OF THE SEA
At the Seventh Session of the South Pacific Forum the Leaders of the countries of the South Pacific underline the importance they attach to developments now taking place in connection with the Law of the Sea. Having considered a paper submitted by the Prime Minister of Fiji, they reaffirm the need for continuing consultation and agree that their delegations will work together very closely at the forthcoming session of the Law of the Sea Conference due to open in New York on 2 August.
The countries represented in the Forum have a cor on interest in seeing a positive outcome of the Conference. All members stand to benefit from the creation of a 200 mile economic zone, whose resources would be under their control, and for many of them it will open the way to major new economic opport ities. The steps they take over the next year or two are therefore of great political as well as economic importance.
The Forum Leaders recognise that much needs to be done to prepare for the establishment of 200 mile economic zones and to ensure that, once established, the zones work to the maximum advantage of the South Pacific countries. This will call for coordination and cooperation on a regional basis. The members of the Forum will seek to avoid decisions which, because of lack of consultation or coordination, could benefit one or more members only, at the expense of others and of the region as a whole.
Several major steps will be needed once 200 mile zones are established. These include negotiations with countries that send their fishing fleets from outside the region. The F.orum Leaders recognise the value of a coordinated approach in these negotiations with distant water fishing countries that now operate in the area.
It will also be necessary to develop a capability for maritime surveillance and policing. The problems involved in this can best be tackled through joint or cooperative action.
The Forum agreed that, given the stage which the Law of the Sea Conference has reached, it will be desirable for the member co tries to meet shortly at Government level. Their objectives will be to consider the timing and terms of the creation of 200 mile zones; the problems and opportunities associated with them: the conservation of marine resources; the possible creation of a South Pacific fisheries agency; and the prospects for joint action and regional cooperation in matters such as surveillance and policing.
The meeting will be held at the Headquarters of the South Pacific Bureau for Economic Cooperation in Suva soon after the Fifth Session of the Law of the Sea Conference concludes.
27 July 1976