SIXTH PACIFIC ISLANDS CONFERENCE OF LEADERS

30–31 January 2001 Ala Moana Hotel Honolulu, Hawai‘i

COMMUNIQUÉ

The Sixth Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders was held at the Ala Moana Hotel, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, from 30–31 January 2001.

The following Leaders from the Pacific Island countries and territories attended the Conference: The Right Honorable Ratu Sir Kamisese K. T. Mara of Fiji; the Honorable Tauese P. F. Sunia, Governor of American Samoa; The Honorable Dr. Terepai Maoate, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands; His Excellency Leo A. Falcam, President of the Federated States of Micronesia; the Honorable Laisenia Qarase, Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji; the Honorable Benjamin J. Cayetano, Governor of the State of Hawai‘i; Dr. Tetaua Taitai, Secretary to the Cabinet of the Republic of Kiribati; His Excellency Kessai H. Note, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands; the Honorable Vinci Clodumar, Ambassador to the United Nations, Republic of Nauru; the Honorable Leopold Joredie, Vice-President of the Government of New Caledonia; His Excellency Sani E. L. Lakatani, Premier of Niue; the Honorable Sir John Kaputin, M.P., Minister for Communications & High Technology, Papua New Guinea; the Honorable Danny Philip, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Solomon Islands; His Royal Highness Prince ‘Ulukalala Lavaka Ata, Prime Minister of Tonga; the Honorable Tomu Sione, Speaker of Parliament, Tuvalu.

At the invitation of the Leaders, the Right Honorable Ratu Sir Kamisese K. T. Mara convened the Conference and His Excellency Leo A. Falcam, President of the Federated States of Micronesia accepted his appointment as spokesman for the Conference.

The Conference Theme adopted was: Pacific Peoples Futures: In an Era of Globalization: How Do We Care For and Share With Other?

The Right Honorable Ratu Sir Kamisese K. T. Mara of Fiji convened the proceedings by welcoming the Leaders and members of their delegations, as well as official observers, and invited guests to the Conference.

Welcome by the President of the East-West Center

Dr. Charles Morrison, EWC President, welcomed and expressed Aloha to the Leaders and delegations on behalf of the Center. Dr. Morrison noted that this is the 20th year of the PIDP at the EWC, and despite some periods of difficulty encountered by the Center over its 40-year lifetime, at present these obstacles have been largely overcome, and the U.S. government is now providing strong, stable support. In addition, funding from other sources has increased significantly. Currently, the Center’s budget is stable and an action plan is being implemented that focuses on and strengthens various program areas. The action plan adopts a new regional community-building theme for the Center that makes it relevant to the region’s special circumstances during this post-Cold War transition to an era of Globalization. Dr. Morrison reviewed the new initiatives and contemporary emphases of the EWC research and education programs. He noted that the EWC is continuing to diversify its funding base in order to rely less on the annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress. Dr. Morrison spoke of the PIDP as a highly successful program and "one of the Center’s highest priorities." He requested the Pacific island leaders’ direction in determining the PIDP’s research, education, and training priorities for the future. Dr. Morrison pledged the EWC’s commitment to supporting the analyses of issues of common concern to the Pacific Islands in an era of globalization, and he expressed the hope that the Conference would further refine the relationship between the Center and the Leaders.

Welcome by the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i

Governor Benjamin Cayetano welcomed the Conference participants and conveyed his Aloha. He reviewed Hawai‘i’s recent long journey out of nine years of economic recession and suggested some of the reasons why he felt the state was able to recover (e.g., expanding transportation, high technology including world-class telecommunications technology for the Internet, education targeting high technology fields, telemedicine). He enumerated some of the challenges the state is presently experiencing (e.g., protecting the environment while growing the economy and reducing the "digital divide"). The Governor expressed his commitment to giving Hawai‘i’s children universal access to educational programs that target the teaching of high technology knowledge in order to prepare a skilled local work force for the future. Governor Cayetano stated that Hawai‘i would make every effort to ensure its resources are available to the Pacific Islands to assist them in achieving their development objectives, and he expressed a desire to share what he has learned with, and also learn from, the Leaders.

Conference Sessions on Contemporary Pacific Issues

The topic of the Conference’s first Pacific Issues session was "Issues of Globalization and Governance in the Asia-Pacific Region." The session began with presentations from two speakers and was followed by Leaders views and discussions facilitated by PIDP Director Dr. Sitiveni Halapua.

Speaker Dr. Robert Kiste of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa presented his views on long-term trends and contemporary issues in the Pacific Islands. Dr. Kiste noted that the issues and challenges faced by the islands and their leaders today are much more complex than they were in the past. He reflected on four major trends common throughout the Pacific Islands: (1) population dynamics (i.e., great increase in population, the youthful demographic of island populations, rapid and uncontrolled urbanization, and out-migration); (2) patterns of decolonization in the Pacific region; (3) increased engagement by the Pacific Islands with themselves and in the broader international arena; and (4) the evolution of the development dialogue from a focus on infrastructure construction, technical training, and agricultural development to a new emphasis on good governance issues in the context of economic development.

Speaker Dr. Gerard Finin of the Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center noted that issues of governance loom large in the Pacific Islands today, highlighted by recent political upheavals, and explained how the complexities of these conflicts are often superficially addressed or glossed over in international analyses as simple ethnic struggles. Knowledge of specific historical and cultural circumstances, the legacy of colonialism, and effects brought about by the emergence of globalization in the Pacific Islands are essential to a fuller understanding of the challenges being faced by the region.

PIDP Director Dr. Halapua pointed out that issues related to governance are much more complex today than they have been in the past. In this regard, he took special note of the socioeconomic and population challenges facing the islands (e.g., meeting basic human needs such as clean water, sufficient food supply and adequate shelter; providing broad access to relevant educational and employment opportunities in the globalization era), and the importance of reconciling traditional and modern forms of governance. He wondered if the Pacific Islands’ institutions created during the Cold War era are still relevant for today’s regional challenges, or whether they need to be revised or restructured, or whether new ones need to be created.

Issues and views expressed by the Leaders included:

· How to define globalization and who benefits from it.

· An interest in the development of an instrument/mechanism between the United States and the Pacific Islands. The PIDP should consider undertaking a study of the feasibility of creating such an instrument.

· Real conflicts exist and need to be reconciled between economic and political principles of traditional forms of Pacific Islands’ governance and Western liberal democracies. Thus, the basic question to be answered is: What is the right mix of communal values and liberal democratic principles for island societies?

· Concern with unplanned urbanization and its consequences.

· The observation that elements of foreign cultures have become infused into island cultures, and that these foreign elements are often contradictory to, and come into conflict with, traditional island value systems.

· How island leaders can plan for development and governance in the globalization era so that future generations will benefit from their decisions.

· Concern that the Pacific island countries are still being used as puppets, and that the globalization process has resulted in decisions being made unilaterally by more powerful others that negatively affect the islands.

· Globalization mostly benefits the already powerful economies, and these stronger economies need to become willing to give the weaker economies assistance, with no strings attached, if harmonious relationships are to be maintained.

· Islands should work in unity to prepare for, manage, and cope with globalization’s impacts. There is a need for island leaders to speak with one voice to cope with the waves of globalization.

· Concern about the sanctioning of island countries and territories such as Nauru and Niue over allegations of illegal offshore activities in the banking/financial services sector.

· The historically proven benefits of the East-West Center’s education and training programs for Pacific island students in terms of advancing island nations and territories capacities for managing and coping with the challenges of globalization.

The topic of the Conference’s second Pacific Issues session was "New Challenges for the Pacific Islands: Managing the Tensions between the Global and Local Cultural Values." The session began with a presentation from PIDP Director Dr. Sitiveni Halapua on "The Value of Our Identities as a Force of Development: A Pacific Perspective," and was followed by Leaders views and discussions.

Speaker Dr. Halapua noted that the first question to address is where to start to search for an appropriate development model for Pacific cultures. He concluded that the meaning of development from a Pacific perspective was the most logical starting point. In this respect, the concept of development itself, and the meaning of development for Pacific peoples involves greater well-being, higher standards of living, wider choices, the maintenance of dignity and identity, and making life secure and meaningful. In the era of globalization, island governments need to seek the definition of good development through Pacific people’s identities. Ultimately, the vision of development is building a sense of stable unity among our diverse communities.

His Excellency Kessai H. Note, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands responded to Dr. Halapua’s presentation by pointing out that the planet is being pushed by an invisible hand to come together, and this trend is being accelerated by globalization. The President underscored the fact that, like it or not, globalization is here and the Pacific Islands had better be prepared for it. He felt that the islands should work as a unit, not as individual countries, to cope with globalization impacts – that both unity and diversity are key Pacific Islands strengths. He emphasized that Pacific island cultures and their traditions and values are the bedrock foundation of Pacific societies and must not be lost. That is to say, with Pacific Islands’ diversity being threatened by globalization, it is essential that island societies continue making progress while at the same time taking care to protect their important cultural values and traditions. In this regard, their children must learn to maintain cultural values while at the same time learning to be tolerant of others’ values. The President stressed the bottomline remains that Pacific Islands’ cultural values and traditions represent their collective interests. Thus, a key question is how do the islands prepare for globalization? He suggested this is an area where that the EWC/PIDP could work with the Leaders to help provide some policy guidance. The President felt that perhaps the phrase "think globally and act locally" would be a good starting point for everyone.

 

Issues and views expressed by the Leaders included:

· Pacific Islands’ diversity is being threatened by globalization’s homogenizing influence. Cultural values and traditions must be protected because they represent the islands’ collective interests.

· Present land tenure systems in the Pacific Islands contain [often contradictory] elements of both customary and formal western land law. A critical issue for the islands is how to reconcile these two systems.

· Land reform as a problem that cuts much deeper than just economics.

· How island leaders can influence the path development?

· Whether the United States was aware of the Pacific Islands needs and how very diverse the islands are.

· How the Pacific Islands might use their ownership of PIDP to the maximum benefit in their quest to manage and cope with the imposition of globalization.

· There is a need in the Pacific Islands to pay closer attention to regional security. Certain Melanesian countries have become boiling pots and, at this time, place a higher priority on achieving security above affluence.

· The possibility of linking the PIDP more closely with the Forum in order to promote more consistency in regional initiatives.

· An important aspect of the Nouméa Accords has to do with the rights of the indigenous and French peoples of New Caledonia – particularly as this relates to land since land tenure is such an important aspect of the globalization.

· The Pacific Islands abundant marine resources urgently need to be wisely managed in the interests of conservation and sustainable economic exploitation.

The topic of the Conference’s third Pacific Issues session was "Pacific Islands Economies in an Era of Globalization: Managing the Requirements of Globalization such as WTO/World Bank/ADB/European Union." The session included opening remarks from The Honorable Prime Minister Dr. Terepai Maoate, Cook Islands, followed by supporting comments from His Excellency Premier Sani E. L. Lakatani, Niue.

Prime Minister Maoate stressed that under the globalization process, the rich have only gotten richer and the poor have only gotten poorer. That is, the regulation of globalization has been totally lopsided and biased in favor of the economically powerful countries that control it. In support of this position, Premier Lakatani noted that globalization has helped the strong in their attempts to dominate the weak, and so is simply a new form of colonization that will increase weak countries vulnerability to exploitation by strong countries. In this regard, the Prime Minister Maoate reviewed the victimization of the Cook Islands by the globalization process, most especially as regards the country’s offshore banking/financial services sector. The Prime Minister also stressed that international organizations needed to help poorer countries by being more flexible and ‘user-friendly’, and he wondered whether the Pacific Islands are any better off because of their own regional organizations. He advocated studying whether the latter group of institutions needed to be streamlined, restructured or abolished, and whether new ones needed to be created. The Prime Minister stated that the Pacific Islands must look within themselves and make conscious decisions about the quality of life they want to pursue, and that they must firmly stand together and loudly insist upon getting the maximum benefits from globalization. The Prime Minister proposed that the Conference re-endorse and recognize tourism as a priority sector and a vital vehicle for social and economic development for all Pacific island countries. He recommended that efforts be undertaken to identify, negotiate for, and secure funding from donor governments and aid agencies for the South Pacific Tourism Organisation and national tourism promotion agencies in the region.

The topic of the Conference’s fourth Pacific Issues session was "Meeting the Challenges of Globalization." The session included a presentation by United States Navy Admiral Dennis C. Blair, CINCPAC who spoke on "U.S. Interests in the Pacific," a presentation by Dr. Meheroo Jussawalla, Emeritus Fellow, East-West Center who spoke on "Taking Advantage of the Opportunities provided by New Information Technologies," and a presentation by Ms. Eileen Shea, Climate Assessment Project Coordinator, East-West Center who spoke on "El Niño and Global Climate Change in the Pacific Region." These three presentations were followed by Leaders views and discussions

Speaker Admiral Blair briefly reviewed two periods of U.S. strategic interest in the Pacific Islands: (1) World War II and (2) the subsequent Cold War period where fear of Soviet expansion into the region lead the U.S. to adopt a policy of strategic denial. In his view the Pacific islands region today and in the near future will be a relatively peaceful strategic arena. The Admiral expressed this optimistic assessment because he felt the U.S. has the power in place to enhance opportunities for future peace and prosperity in the region. Current threats mostly deal with issues rooted in the past (e.g., North Korea, China). The U.S. is confident it can effectively address these remnants of past conflicts as each situation calls for. On a related topic, Admiral Blair noted that some of the current treaties and other mechanisms in force are remnants of the aftermath of World War II and the Cold War. Some may need to be reviewed, some may be irrelevant, and perhaps new ones need to be created. The Admiral also pointed out that Asian countries can develop greater influence and power in peaceful ways that reduce the possibility of conflict. He went on to note that globalization is also a force that can lead to greater cooperation as opposed to conflict. The Admiral reviewed two broad areas that the U.S. considers as threats to security in the region: (1) International criminal activity (e.g., drug trafficking, illegal migration, organized crime), and, (2) Ethnic violence (e.g., Fiji and Solomon Islands conflicts). He emphasized that regional cooperation in intelligence and law enforcement as well as other regional efforts such as the Forum’s resolutions on governance and regional meetings that address these areas of concern are ways to curtail these threats to regional security.

Issues and views expressed by the Leaders included:

· Congratulations was conveyed to the new United States President and Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush, and Admiral Blair was asked to remind him that his father, President George H. W. Bush, acknowledged the U.S. interests in the Pacific islands region by meeting with the Leaders in Hawai‘i and proposing the formation of the Unites States-Pacific Island Nations Joint Commercial Commission.

· A desire to know U.S. strategic policy in the region’s trouble spots and what U.S. defense arrangements have been planned. [NOTE: Admiral Blair responded that the policy of the U.S. towards the Solomon Islands and Bougainville conflicts have been to support a peaceful resolution that respects rights of minorities in the islands. However, the U.S. has not been directly involved since these areas are not a part of the U.S. strategic focus. As regards defense arrangements, the U.S. stands ready to cooperate with other armed forces in the region through such cooperative activities as security exercises and peacekeeping seminars.]

· The observation that that the U.S. approach was fairly straightforward in how it deals with large conflicts, but the sense that there was not much ability or willingness to become involved in smaller conflicts.

· An expression of interest in a more united approach with the U.S. in dealing with law and order threats such as illegal migration, and the flow of illicit drugs and other illegal goods, since law and order in the region is important to attracting trade and investment and a key component of globalization. An interest was also expressed in the U.S. providing some support in terms of surveillance to ensure enforcement of laws against fish poaching and other criminal activities.

· The suggestion that the PICL forum needs to focus on ways to maximize the benefits of globalization. In this regard, it was suggested that perhaps there needs to be a stronger connection to the U.S. through a legal instrument providing preferential access and other protections to help encourage investment and capital flows into the region. Without this, the adverse effects of globalization might be all that’s felt in the region.

· A desire to join the U.S. sponsored and conducted multi-lateral regional planning teams that address crucial region-wide issues such as disaster preparedness.

· Concern was expressed over the U.S. plans for the development and deployment of a National Missile Defense System, especially how this system would impact upon the strategic interests that the U.S. have in the Pacific islands region. Strong concern was also voiced about the potential fall-out from destroyed missiles that would occur over the Northern Pacific if the system ever had to be used.

· An interest was expressed in the U.S. military helping out in the development, construction, and repair of infrastructure in the Pacific Islands.

Speaker Dr. Meheroo Jussawalla noted that the G8 meeting in Okinawa in July 2000 finally recognized that there is a large "digital divide" between the rich and poor countries. She explained there is a large market for cellular technology in the Asia-Pacific region, and this may help reduce some of the high cost of installing copper cable in many places. Dr. Jussawalla also noted that the Internet is a main driving force of telecommunications demand, and that it is changing the way people communicate, and many countries are deregulating their markets to encourage growth in this sector. She also noted that satellite technology is one way in which the Pacific Islands can take advantage of the new telecommunications opportunities. Dr. Jussawalla also pointed out that information technology is very important for many economic development activities (e.g., telemedicine, distance learning).

Speaker Ms. Eileen Shea talked about the phenomena of El Niño and global climate change. Ms. Shea expressed her ambivalence about talking to Pacific island leaders about climate change since they have been at the forefront of bringing the issue to the world stage. She described an ongoing project at the East-West Center that involves getting scientists and policy-makers together to talk about climate change and how the information from the scientific community can be delivered to countries in practical and usable forms. Ms. Shea also noted that the first phase of the Pacific Island Climate Assessment Project is nearly completed and that there has been a desire expressed to expand the project to other islands in the region.

Issues and views expressed by the Leaders included:

· Concerns expressed that some new experiments involving iron fertilization to solve the Greenhouse Effect could have detrimental effects on the Pacific Ocean.

· Concern about too rapidly adopting some telecommunication technologies as they can change and impact cultural values in the community. The question was raised of how policymakers can control the negative impacts of information technology.

· Interest was expressed in Voice Over Internet Phone (VOIP) technology and it’s potential for the Pacific Islands. [NOTE: Dr. Jussawalla suggested that this technology is long way off because the present quality of voice transmission is poor, and the technology is difficult to install in remote areas.]

The topic of the Conference’s fifth Pacific Issues session was "How to Govern in an Era of Globalization: Strengthening the Rules to Govern Ourselves, and Maintain Order in Our Communities." The session included opening remarks from His Excellency Leo A. Falcam, followed by a general discussion of the subject led by President Falcam.

President Falcam observed that the world is growing smaller and that things happening outside of the Pacific islands region still impact upon it, whether in a good or bad sense, and whether we like it or not. Globalization is not a one-way street (e.g., how the Pacific Islands manage their fisheries affects the whole world). He also suggested more economic integration and political interdependence could be either beneficial or costly for the region, and that while at present, and maybe for good reason, the Pacific Islands are feeling the most threatened from globalization, perhaps eventually they might also have the most to gain. In regards to aspects of governance, three fundamental questions to ask about globalization are: (1) does our form and structure of government remain effective in this era; (2) what challenges exist for serving people and maintaining order; and (3) how do global forces contribute to our ability to provide services to our people? He noted that a crucial issue arising from these questions is how the Pacific Islands can successfully adapt, cope, and change in response to the globalization process while still keeping proper respect for traditional institutions. In this regard, the FSM President emphasized that the islands possess many resources worth keeping, and he recalled that someone once noted "the best government is that which is closest to the people," -- which is what island governments have. President Falcam stated that some of the benefits the Pacific Islands need to derive from globalization in order to create the conditions necessary for development include (1) greater self-reliance and (2) human security (i.e., in the areas food production, healthcare services, the economy and employment, equal opportunity, the environment, political systems, cultures, personal safety, and communities). He also stressed that the Pacific Islands must be cautious of calls to change their forms of government as these political systems have arisen from specific historical and cultural circumstances, and best reflect the will of the people. President Falcam stressed that island governments must build capacity in many areas and expand their global contacts.

Issues and views expressed by the Leaders included:

· The need for the Pacific Islands to have a collective voice expressing common views on economic growth, development, and security in order not to get bullied by stronger nations. In this regard, the islands ought to stand together on three issues: (1) a unified view that the Pacific Islands should be assisted with economic development and protected from the negative effects of globalization; (2) against the threat of accidents from nuclear materials transportation, and be compensated if any occur; and, (3) against continuing high levels of human-generated greenhouse gas emission.

· The fact that global warming is an example of globalization at its worst. In this regard, the Kyoto Protocol’s implementation has been very slow and the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders stressed the need to speed it up.

Election of Standing Committee

In keeping with tradition, the Conference of Leaders elected members of the Standing Committee for the next three years. The Members are as follows:

Chairman:

Vice-Chairman:

Members:

 

MOU & Strategic Plan for the PIDP

The Conference unanimously adopted the Memorandum of Understanding between the PICL and the East-West Center [see Attachment #1], as well as a Strategic Plan for the PIDP [see Attachment #2].

Venue for the Next Conference

The Standing Committee will in consultation with the other members of the Conference decide on the venue for the Seventh Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in 2004.

Appreciation

The Conference expressed its profound appreciation to the Government of Japan, on whose behalf Japan’s consul general in Hawai‘i, Mr. Minoru Shibya, presented the East-West Center with a contribution of US$357,000 in its continuing support of the Center’s Pacific Islands Development Program. The Conference recognizes that since 1978, Japan has generously provided US$3,900,000 to the Center, primarily to assist the PIDP in meeting the research and training needs of the peoples of the Pacific islands region.

The Conference expressed its sincere appreciation to the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for its assistance of US$200,000 in funding for PIDP research and training activities over the past two years.

The Leaders expressed their deep appreciation to the Convener of the Conference, the Right Honorable Ratu Sir Kamisese K. T. Mara, for his vision, leadership, wisdom, and guidance provided to the Pacific islands region, and most especially his service to the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders and its Standing Committee over the years.

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