COMMUNIQUÉ of the Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Standing Committee

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Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders

East-West Center Honolulu, Hawai’i February 4-5, 1998

The Twenty-Fifth Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL) was held at the East-West Center (EWC) in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, on February 4-5, 1998. It was chaired by the Honorable Sir Geoffrey Henry, KBE, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands.

The Standing Committee considered the report of its special Study Group, chaired by Professor Robert Kiste, Director of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies of the University of Hawai‘i, on options for the future of the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP). The Committee accepted the recommendation of the Study Group that the current arrangement by which the PIDP was an important institution within the EWC should be continued and further strengthened. Towards that end, the Standing Committee also agreed that a Memorandum of Understanding should be concluded between the PICL and the EWC.

The Standing Committee warmly welcomed the presentation by the Director of the PIDP, Dr. Sitiveni Halapua, on his research project articulating a new Pacific People Model of Direction of Sustainable Development and encouraged him to continue his efforts. The model proposes a promising approach to development that stresses the contemporary direction of development while drawing upon the cultural identities and traditional values of Pacific Island societies so as to promote both a secure and improved quality of life in an age of rapid change and globalization.

In that regard, the Standing Committee also welcomed the interest of the Small Island State of Bahrain in developmental challenges faced by the Pacific Islands. The Committee fully supported Bahrain’s offer to host and assist in the organization of an international conference to deal with the impact of globalization on Small Island States. It approved the involvement of the PIDP, as appropriate, in assisting with preparations for the conference as may be required. In this regard the Standing Committee adopted the resolution attached hereto.

The Standing Committee received a report by the Director on the PIDP’s other activities including research on such important areas as human resources development; use of the Internet for the promotion of trade, investment and dissemination of information by

Pacific Island countries; and the education and training of Pacific Islanders. It encouraged the PIDP to continue its work in these vital areas and, wherever possible, to seek additional resources for that purpose.

The Standing Committee also received a report by the Trade and Investment Working Group (TIWG) of the United States-Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission (U.S./PINs JCC) that embraced proposed new initiatives to be implemented under the JCC umbrella. It very much welcomed the United States Department of State assuming primary responsibility for JCC matters and looked forward to the further development of vibrant trade and investment links between the U.S. and the PINs.

In receiving the report of the TIWG, the Standing Committee welcomed the personal involvement of Ambassador Aurelia Brazeal and expressed its appreciation for her commitment to the success of the JCC. The Standing Committee also congratulated the Honorable Epel Ilon, PINs Co-Chair of the JCC and other PINs officials for their excellent contributions to the meeting. In endorsing the report of the TIWG, the Standing Committee welcomed and encouraged further participation of the private sectors of both the United States and the PINs in the activities of the JCC.

The Standing Committee expressed its appreciation to and accepted the kind offer of the Government of Papua New Guinea to host the Sixth PICL in 1999. It was agreed that the theme of the Conference would be "Managing Globalization for Sustainable Development the Pacific Way."

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