Iwaki, Fukusima, Japan (May 19, 2018) – Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and the Prime Minister of Japan, the Hon Shinzo Abe, committed to stronger action on climate change and to the sustainable management, use and conservation of the ocean at the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 8).
In opening PALM 8, Forum Chair and PALM Co-chair, the Hon Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, emphasised that “the Pacific Ocean unites our islands in common purpose – it is our home and our key to a future of infinite promise. A shared Ocean means a shared responsibility and shared benefits for our environment, our economies and our communities.”
Forum Leaders and Prime Minister Abe committed to addressing climate change with a sense of urgency, given the existential threat it poses to Forum Island Countries and the region. Together, they emphasised the need to step up leadership roles in international negotiations, to finalise the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement, and increase levels of climate finance commensurate with the requisite needs of FICs.
Forum Leaders committed to continuing their collective and proactive efforts to build resilience across the region through the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, and a major new initiative to develop the recently endorsed “Pacific Resilience Facility”. Leaders welcomed the ongoing and important support for Japan on climate change including a new Pacific Climate Change Centre in Samoa.
Sustainable management, use and conservation of the ocean and its resources, including the importance of fisheries to the prosperity of the region, were a focus of PALM 8. Forum Leaders emphasised the fundamental importance of ‘zone based management’ for the sustainable management of highly migratory fish species, and the need for partners such as Japan to support such approaches. Japan and Forum Leaders committed to ongoing cooperation in addressing Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, and to stepping up efforts to conserve the marine environment particularly through preventing marine litter.
Forum Leaders welcomed Japan’s commitment to strong development cooperation and people to people exchanges of at least 5,000 people over the next three years. In discussing a new capacity building program on maritime law enforcement, Forum Leaders emphasised the importance of this being implemented in accordance with established institutions and frameworks.
In closing the meeting, the Forum Chair reaffirmed the important milestones of PALM 8 – both through policy commitments, partnership building and continued policy dialogue. “Forum Leaders offer to host the next PALM Ministerial meeting in the Pacific islands region, for the first time, as a way to reinforce the spirit of partnership and reciprocity that underpins the PALM,” he said.
The PALM was initiated by Japan in 1997 to strengthen relations with Forum Member countries and work jointly towards the development of the Pacific region. Held every three years, the PALM is co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan and the Chair of the PIF.
The PALM 8 Declaration can be accessed here.
The Forum Chair’s opening statement for PALM 8 can be accessed here.