Senior officials from all Member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum and the Forum Secretariat met with their counterparts from the Government of Japan to prepare for the 7th Pacific Leaders’ Meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan, known as PALM 7. PALM 7 will be held in Iwaki-city, Fukushima, Japan on 22 and 23 May 2015.
At the pre-PALM Senior Officials’ Meeting, held on 4 March in Tokyo, Forum Member officials took the opportunity to emphasise key concerns for the Pacific region, including the environment, climate change and disaster risk reduction, as well as the important reforms to regional decision-making introduced by the Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
Endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2014, the Framework establishes a new political process to drive regional cooperation and integration and will be an important reference point for the Pacific’s engagement with development partners, such as Japan.
The Senior Officials’ Meeting also provided a valuable opportunity for Forum Members and the Government of Japan to reflect on the progress and successes of the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund, a US$66million initiative of PALM 5 in 2009.
Under the PEC Fund, which is coordinated and managed by the Forum Secretariat, the 14 Forum Island Countries have been allocated US$4 million each to support projects in either solar power generation or sea water desalination. Eight countries have completed their projects, while the remaining six Forum Island countries are making rapid progress in implementing their projects.
The Pacific Leaders’ Meeting was initiated by Japan in 1997 to strengthen relations with Pacific Island Forum countries and work jointly towards the development of the Pacific region. Through the PALM process, Japan and Pacific Island Forum countries have an opportunity to enhance cooperation and strengthen relations.
PALM meetings are held every 3 years, with the last meeting, PALM 6, held in May 2012 in Okinawa.
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