[Perth, Western Australia] – The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) Tuiloma Neroni Slade today attended the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) being held in Perth, Western Australia.
Mr Slade is observing key CHOGM events as a Special Guest of the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma.
In the lead-up to the official opening, Mr Slade observed the Commonwealth and Developing Small States Foreign Minister’s Meeting and addressed a session of the Commonwealth Business Forum on “Pacific Islands: Challenges and Opportunities” on 25 October. This was followed by a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Commonwealth Business Council and the Pacific Islands Trade and Invest.
Secretary General Slade also participated in a Pacific Foreign Minister’s breakfast meeting hosted by Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Kevin Rudd MP and the Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Islands Affairs, Hon Richard Marles MP on 26 October. Mr Slade also observed the Pre-CHOGM Foreign Minister’s Meeting on 26 and 27 October, and will also observe Executive Sessions of Commonwealth Leaders on 28 and 30 October.
Recognising the theme of the 2011 CHOGM: “Building National Resilience, Building Global Resilience”, Mr Slade highlighted the relevance of these discussions to the Pacific region where national vulnerability and the impact of global events create significant challenges.
Recalling the key focus of the Forum Leaders’ meeting in Auckland last month was about pursuit of sustainable economic development for the Pacific, Mr Slade said: “CHOGM provides another important occasion for our Pacific leaders to highlight key opportunities and obstacles to economic growth and to seek to ensure the concerns of the Pacific, including regarding vitally important climate change, development and sustainability issues, are appreciated and addressed by the wider global community.”
The Forum Secretary General also noted that the Pacific Islands Forum shares with the Commonwealth an abiding commitment to key principles such as democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and good governance. He further noted that the Forum’s partnership with the Commonwealth in all these areas was long-standing and mutually beneficial.
Mr Slade said: “My presence here in Perth as a Special Guest of the Commonwealth Secretary General is a concrete demonstration of our continuing interest in working closely with the Secretary General and Commonwealth Secretariat in our joint efforts to advance the interests of Pacific island countries”.
Mr Slade also commended Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s very successful hosting of the 2011 CHOGM meeting in close cooperation with Secretary General Sharma and expressed his appreciation to the Australian Government for the hospitality extended to him during his stay in Perth.
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