9:30am (Fiji Standard Time), Saturday
04 April 2020
SUVA, Fiji: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the implementation of unprecedented response measures and restrictions by Governments across the Pacific region, in an effort to curb the transmission and spread of the virus in Pacific Island States.
Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers will meet virtually on Tuesday 7 April, 2020 to discuss the proposed outline for a coordinated regional response in close consultation and partnership with the World Health Organisation and the Pacific Community.
In a letter to all Forum Leaders on 30 March, the Prime Minister of Samoa, Hon. Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, recognised that “we find ourselves in extraordinary times and circumstances where the very mettle of our nations and governments are tested beyond any limits that we have known in our lifetime”
Senior Officials of the Pacific Islands Forum have met to discuss and elaborate a possible regional response mechanism that would ease the coordination of supplies and assistance to the member states.
This follows the triggering of the Biketawa Declaration by the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Hon. Kausea Natano. The Biketawa Declaration is the Pacific region’s mechanism for coordinating regional cooperation and assistance in the face of a crisis.
“If ever there was a time where the region and its partners needed to work together in strong solidarity to overcome a direct and immediate threat to the lives of our people across our Blue Pacific region – it is now,” said Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General to the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Pacific Islands Forum continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak in the Pacific Islands Countries and Territories and is working with relevant agencies to ensure timely support and assistance.