THE WAIHEKE DECLARATION ON SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 8 September, Auckland, New Zealand

We, the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum, meeting in Auckland, New Zealand:
Acknowledging with gratitude the foresight of Pacific Leaders who forty years ago first met in Wellington, New Zealand, to establish what is today the Pacific Islands Forum involving sixteen independent member states of the Pacific region;
Recognising the vision of Leaders at that first meeting who strongly encouraged the development of regional cooperation as a valuable mechanism to assist in resolving issues of common concern affecting the daily lives of the peoples of the Pacific;
Celebrating the achievements accomplished through close and effective regional cooperation;
Realising the economic and social challenges we all face, including those arising from climate change, the increasing costs and insecurities of supply of daily necessities such as energy and food, and the impacts of urbanisation and natural disasters;
Expressing with appreciation the significant assistance received over the past four decades from the region‟s development partners;
Taking into account the strategic direction provided by the Pacific Plan for progressing the pillars of sustainable development and economic growth in the Pacific;
Acknowledging the importance of good governance and security, the other two pillars of the Pacific Plan, in helping to deliver sustainable economic development outcomes;
Reaffirming the importance of accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals,
Highlighting the benefits of advancing development coordination involving Pacific Countries and development partners, as articulated in the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Cooperation in the Pacific (Forum Compact);
Sharing our aspiration to create a prosperous, stable and secure Pacific for future generations;
Hereby
Declare that strengthened sustainable economic development is key to a better quality of life for all our peoples;
Recommit ourselves to pursuing a goal of ensuring a sustainable economic environment for all, so that all our peoples, in particular the young who are the future of our societies, have opportunities for gainful employment and can live healthy, productive and safe lives;
Recognise that sustainable economic development increases the resilience of communities, including their most vulnerable members;
Set out to transform the region‟s future by drawing on the Pacific‟s unique assets by collectively focusing our efforts on areas where we have an impact on our peoples‟ long- term wellbeing;
Recognise that despite challenges related to our small size and our relative isolation, we live in an ocean of opportunity, that immense potential rests in our productive sectors, particularly fisheries, tourism and agriculture, and that capitalising on this potential is crucial for the future of the Pacific and the livelihoods of its peoples;
Acknowledge the importance of sectors such as transport, infrastructure, education and energy in providing an environment in which the Pacific‟s potential can be realised;
Affirm the high importance of the private sector in helping realise the region‟s potential;
Acknowledge our responsibility to create an environment where business can thrive and contribute to the region‟s development;
Recognise the way in which regional and economic integration can improve the prospect of stable, long-term economic growth in Pacific communities by creating jobs, enhancing private sector growth, and raising standards of living, through the freer flow of goods, services and investment within the Pacific;
Pledge to:

  • Pursue improved sustainable returns to Pacific island economies from the abundant natural resources, particularly fisheries, available from the wealth of our shared Pacific Sea of Islands;
  • Foster an environment that supports increased investment, productive activity and a strengthened private sector, particularly in relation to fisheries, agriculture and tourism, to generate income and employment;
  • Empower the next generation by significantly improving children‟s access to quality basic education, so as to raise literacy and numeracy rates;
  • Improve the health status of our peoples so that they can enjoy more productive and less troubled lives and to relieve the burden on Pacific economies;
  • Conserve and manage fragile island ecosystems which underpin sustainable development and food and water security within our region;

Commit ourselves specifically to:

  • Improve energy security through greater efficiency measures and the promotion of clean and affordable energy, including renewable energy;
  • Address the persistent problem of illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in the Pacific through enhancing the effectiveness of regional monitoring, control and surveillance activities;
  • Promote the Pacific as an exciting and diverse tourism destination, and support the sector‟s ability to generate income and employment for its peoples;
  • Raise educational standards and expand opportunities for acquiring technical and vocational skills relevant to job markets, especially for women, including through non-formal education and training provision;
  • Increase opportunities for women to participate in the formal labour market and as entrepreneurs;
  • Ensure the meaningful engagement of civil society and Pacific island communities in the development process;
  • Develop institutions that contribute to creating an enabling environment for private sector-led growth including by introducing appropriate regulatory and legal reforms;
  • Reduce barriers to regional trade and investment in order to expand access to markets for Pacific businesses and focus on building the capacity of economies to benefit from the trade and investment opportunities that arise;
  • Continue strengthening public financial management and development coordination as a means to improve development effectiveness and to adequately prepare and ensure efficient management of the influx of resources to address climate change;
  • Invest in improved infrastructure;
  • Support the development of niche, high value agricultural production and its links into global value chains, such as Fair Trade and organics;

Agree to strengthen the monitoring of progress against regional priorities;
Undertake to examine further ways in which we might enhance regional cooperation and integration, including through enhancing the effectiveness of shared institutions, in order to promote efficient delivery of regional public goods, and improved services, to our businesses and peoples;
Urge Pacific Regional Organisations to actively consider how their work programmes can contribute to economic growth and enhancement of the capacity of the productive sectors where applicable;
Call on our international partners to support, in a coordinated way, our endeavours by focusing their assistance on areas that directly and indirectly improve our ability to develop sustainable productive economies.
 

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