COVID -19 Updates from the Secretariat

Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19: Updates

Regional COVID-19 taskforce targets next steps in Humanitarian Pathway

Friday 9th April, 2021— A virtual regional taskforce meeting under the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 today considered global and regional updates on COVID-19, including vaccines and the COVAX facility from the World Health Organisation and the Pacific Community. The Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19, the PHP-C, was set up in 2020 as the regional response mechanism to the pandemic. The regional taskforce, which includes the Joint Incident Management Team (JIMT), was established to oversee the implementation of the PHP-C. The regional taskforce works closely with the Forum Officials Committee and reports directly to a Ministerial Action Group which was also established in 2020 to provide political oversight for the PHP-C initiative.

Chaired by Tuvalu’s Secretary to Government, Dr Tapugao Falefou, the RTF meeting today also considered potential pathways to utilise the PHP-C to facilitate dialogue on quarantine free travel in the region. The feedback from Members on this paper will help shape the collective approach for the Forum moving forward.

Regional Task force members also considered a status update from the Pacific Air Service led by the UN World Food Program which has delivered over 221,000  kg of health and humanitarian cargo and 111 technical personnel across the region.–ENDS

Message from the Secretariat

April 22, 2020–The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency of unprecedented scale, posing extreme danger to the health and security of our Pacific people. Never before has a crisis impacted so directly on all 18 Members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Pacific Island countries have taken proactive and strong measures to protect their people and prevent the spread of COVID-19 including enacting ‘states of emergency’ and stringent border and travel restrictions. In some cases, these measures are restricting the movement of medical and humanitarian supplies, equipment and personnel by the World Health Organisation and other regional and international actors.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have invoked the Biketawa Declaration to respond to COVID-19, as one Blue Pacific family. The Biketawa Declaration provides the regional framework for responding to Member states’ request for assistance in times of crisis.

A Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 (PHP-C) has been established to enable efficient movement of medical supplies, humanitarian assistance and technical experts to Pacific Island Forum states. The first delivery of medical supplies arrived through the PHP-C in Fiji on April 21. The personal protective equipment will be distributed in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and French Polynesia by the WHO.

Message from the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers, Hon Simon Kofe

News Updates

Forum Foreign Ministers Joint Statement on Blue Pacific Leadership in Disaster Preparedness Planning

Jonathan Pryke, Director of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Islands Program, sits down with Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, to discuss how COVID-19 is affecting health, economics, local communities, climate change, regionalism and geopolitics in the Pacific region, The Lowy Institute, Published 29 May 2020 
WHO/PIF medical supplies arrive in Fiji, Radio New Zealand, Published on 26 May 2020
Joint Statement by the Heads of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, the Caribbean Community, and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat on the COVID-19 Pandemic, Published on 19 May 2020
[WEBINAR]: “COVID-19 and the Pacific Islands: Weathering Two Crises”, 15 May 2020
What might the Pacific look like in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis? Pacific Beat, ABC, 24 April 2020
In Tok Pisin, Het blong Pacific Islands Forum ino wanbel long US President istopim stap igo long WHO, ABC News, 24 April 2020
In Depth: Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, Islands Business, 23 April 2020
First Delivery of Medical Supplies Arrive through the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19
Frequently Asked Questions – Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19
Op -Ed: COVID-19 and Climate Change- We Must Rise to Both Crises, written by the Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum, Dame Meg Taylor can be read HERE.
Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Agree to Establish a Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19
Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers to Consider Regional Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to find out more

Please adhere to the advice from your local authorities.

The Pacific Community has detail on our regional public health response.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has daily updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.