Pacific Islands Forum explores regional options for maintaining security of the Blue Pacific

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (1st February 2018) – In working towards an updated and expanded regional security declaration, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is encouraging all Pacific islanders to help them identify the security issues that are impacting people across the region.

A secure Pacific is at the heart of the Pacific Islands Forum’s vision for a stable and prosperous region and maintaining the security of our people is becoming an increasingly complex task, given the potential challenges posed by an increasingly diverse range of issues that include human security, environmental security, humanitarian assistance, natural disasters, transnational crime, and political instability. Consequently, Forum Leaders at their last meeting held in September 2017 in Apia asked the Forum Secretariat to look at developing Biketawa Plus – a new regional declaration that considers an expanded concept of security for the Pacific.

Speaking in Seoul in December last year, the incumbent Forum Chair, Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said, “Forum Leaders agreed that protecting The Blue Pacific will require a collective security architecture that recognizes, promotes and provides security in the broadest sense of the term. There is commitment to working together to ensure the security of our shared ocean geography, resources and ecosystems therein from unsustainable exploitation and illegal activities, including illegal fishing and transnational crime.”

Forum Secretariat Policy Director Paki Ormsby said, “Our job is to develop regional policies and arrangements that are designed and owned by Pacific people for the benefit of the region.”

“We have prepared a short survey questionnaire, which can be completed online. It is designed to give us a better sense of the kinds of security related challenges that people are facing in their everyday lives. We would like to encourage everyone to take a few minutes to respond to the questions. All the feedback we get will help to inform our work in the months ahead.”

Forum Leaders endorsed the original Biketawa Security Declaration in 2000 as a mechanism for a regional response to security issues. The declaration has underpinned successful security related operations in the region since then, with the most recent example being the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands, or RAMSI as it became known.

The survey can be accessed via the Forum Secretariat’s website: Responses will be accepted up until the 28th February 2018.

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