FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ

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THIRTY-THIRD PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM Suva, Fiji Islands August 15 – 17, 2002

FORUM COMMUNIQUÉ

The Thirty-Third Pacific Islands Forum was held in Suva, Fiji Islands, from 15-17 August 2002 and was attended by Heads of State and Government of Australia, the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. The Forum Retreat was held at the Lagoon Resort in Deuba.

2. The Forum Leaders thanked the Government and people of Fiji for hosting the 2002 meeting and acknowledged with appreciation the warm welcome and generous hospitality provided to all delegations to the Forum and related meetings and for the arrangements made for its meetings.

A. MINISTERIAL REPORTS

Forum Economic Ministers Meeting

3. The Leaders endorsed the Forum Economic Ministers report and their efforts to improve economic management in the Pacific Islands. They agreed that there was pressing need to address the internal economic weaknesses in island economies to better withstand international economic downturns and take advantage of global growth. They also agreed to a need to refocus attention on issues of good governance, use of broad-based consultation and socio-economic impact assessments and improving the business environment. However, they did note that there were concerns regarding the process involved in the FATF listing of non-cooperative countries and territories.

4. The Leaders also called on the OECD to take a much more participatory and flexible approach to the Harmful Tax Initiative, noting the need for assistance to build the compliance capacity of the Pacific Islands States with regards to the OECD and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirements.

5. To help minimise the economic costs of environmental problems, Leaders welcomed ongoing work by the South Pacific Applied Geo-Science Commission on disaster mitigation and risk management. Leaders welcomed the proposed focus at the next Economic Ministers Meeting on "Economic and Social Development and the Environment". Leaders also endorsed Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) work on renewable energy and called for continuing exploration of renewables for the region.

6. Leaders also reiterated the concerns expressed by Ministers over the ban placed on kava products from the region and called for the development of a regional response, and international support to regional efforts to address these concerns.

Forum Aviation Ministers Meeting (FAMM)

7. The Leaders endorsed the Forum Aviation Ministers’ report and progress in their efforts to improve the efficiency and safety of air transport within the region. They looked forward to freeing up air routes within the region for regional carriers and therefore reconfirmed their support of the Pacific Islands Air Services Agreement (PIASA) negotiations currently being undertaken by the Aviation Officials from the Pacific Island Countries.

8. Leaders also welcomed the establishment of the new Pacific Aviation Safety Office (PASO) in Vanuatu for the purpose of improving flying operations, airworthiness, airports and security in member countries. Leaders agreed that this important initiative required strong regional support. Leaders also noted the importance of effective participation by Pacific Island Contracting States of the International Civil Aviation Organisation in international aviation meetings.

Forum Communications Ministers Meeting (FCMM)

9. The Leaders endorsed the Forum Communication Ministers report on implementation of the 1999 Forum Communications Action Plan, noting that progress to date had been slow. In noting the main reasons for the delay, including weak domestic capacities and competing priorities, the Leaders gave strong support to the proposed Ministerial actions to facilitate implementation. These included ongoing stocktake and the adoption of the Pacific Islands ICT Policy and Strategic Plan.

Forum Ministerial Committee on New Caledonia

10. Leaders endorsed the report of the Forum Ministerial Committee on New Caledonia and in particular welcomed the establishment of the institutions as provided for under the Noumea Accord. They reiterated their recognition of the rights of the people of New Caledonia to self-determination and reaffirmed their support for continuing dialogue with all communities in New Caledonia. Leaders also encouraged and urged all parties to continue to maintain their commitment to the full implementation of the Noumea Accord.

11. The Forum also agreed to continue to bring to the attention of the United Nations, the question of New Caledonia’s political future. It further agreed to support training of the Kanak people through the Kanak Training Fund and to making available training awards in their respective institutions for the training of Kanak students.

12. Leaders further encouraged greater integration and participation of New Caledonia in the Forum region and endorsed the Forum Ministerial Committee’s continuing role in monitoring developments in the Territory.

B. REGIONAL SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE

13. Leaders considered the regional security challenges faced over the past twenty-four months in member countries, including from transnational organised crime, the recent influx of boat people into the region and the September 11, 2001 terrorist acts in the United States. Leaders noted the United Nations response to terrorism through the mandatory provisions of UNSCR 1373 and the FATF 8 Special Recommendations.

Nasonini Declaration

14. To highlight further the region’s concerns over and response to transnational crime and terrorism, the Forum agreed to adopt the Nasonini Declaration on Regional Security attached at Annex 1.

Biketawa Declaration

15. The Leaders were pleased to note the progress in the implementation of the Biketawa Declaration including the first ever Forum Elections Observer Mission to observe the 2001 Solomon Islands elections and to support the democratic process there. This, together with an Eminent Persons Group visit to Solomon Islands this year to report on possible areas of assistance by the Forum, signals an increasingly proactive role by the Forum in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

16. Forum Leaders noted that good governance within each country, and at the regional and international levels, is now recognized as another key prerequisite for sustainable development. Forum Leaders further noted the Eight Principles of Accountability for economic and financial management and the Biketawa Declaration as evidence of the priority the Forum places on good governance. The Leaders also welcomed work currently being done to develop a model leadership code for small states and looked forward to receiving the draft Regional Leadership Code for their consideration at their 2003 meeting.

Solomon Islands

17. Leaders endorsed the Report of the Forum Eminent Persons Group and agreed to give an open remit to the Group to monitor and advise on developments in Solomon Islands. They also mandated the Secretariat to mobilise regional action and funds to support Solomon Islands, economically, politically and socially.

Forum Presiding Officers Conference

18. The Forum endorsed the outcomes of the Forum Presiding Officers Conference, recognising the special role legislatures in member countries played in the political and economic development of their countries and in promoting good governance.

19. Leaders also agreed to support the proposed Pacific ACP Parliamentarians Conference and to discuss the future of the initiative at the next Pacific ACP Leaders meeting.

People Smuggling

20. Leaders urged greater international cooperation, including active participation in regional and multilateral fora, information sharing, negotiating appropriate bilateral memoranda of understanding and developing capacity to reduce irregular migration and combat people smuggling.

21. The Forum encouraged members to develop national strategies to combat people smugggling including the development of appropriate legislative frameworks and law enforcement capacity in consultation with the Secretariat.

Regional Illicit Drug Control

22. Leaders expressed concern about the inability of current illicit drug legislation within the region to provide a common base for law enforcement agencies to operate from both the national and regional basis. Leaders commended the work undertaken by Oceania Customs Organisation, South Pacific Chiefs of Police Conference and the Forum Secretariat sub-Committee on developing a regional illicit drug control legislation. The Forum encouraged all Forum Island Countries to examine the possibility of enacting the legislation in its entirety noting that jurisdictions have to vet and scrutinise the draft in accordance with their own procedures.

C. ENVIRONMENT AND CONSERVATION

Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy

23. Leaders recalled their 1995 decision urging members to become parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) at the earliest opportunity. They also welcomed recent developments in the areas of Oceans and Legislation as a platform for developing an Action Plan in this important area for the region and approved the "Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy" (at Annex 2). Leaders also called for follow-up action plans for the region and for members individually in this area. Leaders noted with appreciation New Zealand’s offer to provide assistance to this initiative. In light of the principles set forth in that Policy, Leaders further endorsed full participation of Forum members in the upcoming Third World Water Forum.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

24. Leaders expressed their deep concerns about the adverse impacts of climate change, climate variability and sea level rise on all members of the Pacific Island Forum, in particular small and low lying islands that are already experiencing extreme hardship. They particularly welcomed the strengthening of regional coordination and support in addressing this concern.

25. Leaders also noted the authoritative nature of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report issued in 2001, and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions and for further commitments in the future by all major emitters. They emphasised the need for all nations to commit to a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the adverse impacts of climate change, taking into account the special circumstances of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Leaders also noted that Forum members are taking significant domestic action to mitigate climate change.

26. Leaders encouraged the United States and all other major emitters to contribute towards global efforts to address climate change. Leaders again encouraged all parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to ratify the Kyoto Protocol which is a significant first step forward on a path to ensuring effective global action to combat climate change; and noted that, while Australia was not currently disposed to ratify the Protocol, it will continue to develop and invest in domestic programmes to meet the target agreed to at Kyoto for Australia. The Forum welcomed the acceptance of the Protocol by Japan and approval by the European Community.

27. Leaders supported the Climate Change Roundtable process and noted the progress to develop an integrated and programmatic approach, including a comprehensive review in the context of CROP working arrangements, of all issues, activities and relevant outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development related to climate change, climate variability and sea level rise.

28. The Forum recognised the importance of mainstreaming adaptation within finance and economic planning at their national level and called for mobilisation of resources for adaptation and the consideration of all the implications of adaptation needs, options and requirements.

29. Leaders further recognised that the failure at the international level to tackle, in a timely manner, the causes of climate change has strengthened the need to urgently implement adaptation measures, for which a framework was created in the Marrakesh Accords.

30. Leaders welcomed the new initiative announced by Australia to strengthen the capacity of Forum Island Countries in the area of climate prediction.

Land and Coastal Resource Management

31. The Forum acknowledged that daily activities within communities in SIDS could impact on their vulnerability, and noted the need to plan for future coastal developments in order to manage the adverse impacts of climate change. Leaders supported the development of a framework for addressing environmental vulnerability and the day-to-day management of land and coastal resources, including the introduction of measures for monitoring at the national level and where appropriate at sub-national levels. These could include the development of Comprehensive Hazard And Risk Management (CHARM) plans to help monitor such activities on land and in coastal areas.

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

32. Leaders welcomed the cooperation among Pacific countries throughout the WSSD preparatory process which has resulted in the successful conclusion of a section on sustainable development of SIDS concerns. They encouraged member country participation at the highest level in the World Summit on Sustainable Development next month in South Africa and agreed to support the position of SIDS through protecting and enhancing the expression of their concerns. Leaders also underlined the importance of practical initiatives from the WSSD to implement sustainable development in the region.

Shipment of Radioactive Materials

33. Forum Leaders welcomed the growing recognition in international fora such as at the recent ACP Summit in Nadi, in IAEA and at the NPT PrepCom, of the concerns of SIDS and other coastal States regarding the shipment of radioactive material and encouraged Forum members to continue to constructively and vigorously pursue their concerns in appropriate fora. They also expressed their disappointment that shipping states did not meet with Forum members prior to the August 2002 Leaders meeting, but notes there is agreement that the meeting will take place before the end of the year and expresses the hope that significant progress will be made at that meeting taking account of the proposals that Forum members have put forward for discussion.

34. While noting the reservation by Australia, the Forum reiterated its continuing serious concerns over the shipment of radioactive materials through the region; called on shipping States to meet with Forum members as soon as possible and to mandate their representatives, at a high political level, to seriously consider and progress the proposals that Forum members have developed for innovative arrangements and assurances. These proposals include acceptance by shipping States of full responsibility and liability for compensation for any damage which may result directly or indirectly from transport of radioactive materials through the region; the assurance by those States that the highest possible safety standards are met; and the appropriate advanced notification and consultations by shipping States with States in the region through which the shipments pass, taking into account security considerations and the legitimate interests of Forum member countries.

Disarmament, Non-proliferation

35. The Forum endorsed the Secretariat’s continued support to Forum participation in the NPT Review process, including the Review Conference in 2005, and endorsed initiatives for a Nuclear Weapon Free Southern Hemisphere as advanced at the United Nations General Assembly.

36. Leaders urged universal ratification of the CTBT particularly by the outstanding Annex 2 States and encouraged ratification of or accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention.

37. The Forum also encouraged participation by Forum members at the 2003 IAEA International Conference on the Safety of Transport of Radioactive Material.

South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty

38. The Forum noted the Secretary General’s report on the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and called on the United States to ratify the Protocols to the Treaty as a means of enhancing global and regional peace and security, including global nuclear non-proliferation.

Republic of Marshall Islands Radioactive Contamination

39. The Forum recognized the special circumstances pertaining to the continued presence of radioactive contaminants in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and reaffirmed the existence of a special responsibility by the United States towards the people of the Marshall Islands, who had been, and continue to be adversely affected as a direct result of nuclear weapons test conducted by the United States of America during its administration of the islands under the UN Trusteeship mandate.

40. The Forum again reiterated its call on the United States of America to live up to its full obligations on the provision of adequate and fair compensation and the commitment to its responsibility for the safe resettlement of displaced populations, including the full and final restoration to economic productivity of all affected areas.

South Pacific Whale Sanctuary

41. While noting the strong reservations of some members, the Forum noted recent developments in multilateral, regional and domestic whale protection and invited members to declare their respective waters as whale sanctuaries, if they have not already done so; welcomed the declaration of whale sanctuaries by Australia, the Cook Islands, Niue and Papua New Guinea and the fact that whales are also protected in the Cook Islands, New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga under their national legislation; and also noted the need for increased scientific knowledge concerning the benefits of a whale sanctuary.

D. TRADE AND ECONOMIC ISSUES

Trade and Investment

42. Leaders reiterated their commitment to higher performance in trade and investment and economic development and, in this regard, urged those that have not ratified the Pacific Island Countries Trade Agreement (PICTA) and the Pacific Agreement for Closer Economic Relations (PACER) agreements to do so as soon as possible so that the trade facilitation and technical assistance programme can be implemented.

43. In the meantime the Forum Leaders were pleased to note the continuing regional efforts to promote Pacific products in overseas markets including through the Forum trade offices in Australia, Japan, New Zealand and, as of this year, in the Peoples Republic of China. They therefore welcomed the opening of the Trade Office in Beijing. To enhance trade relations with the United States of America, Leaders directed the Forum Secretariat to study and report on the benefits of current market access conditions enjoyed by individual Forum Island Countries and suggest ways of improving future trade relations.

44. Leaders noted that as a result of globalization, external factors have become critical in determining the success or failure of Pacific Island countries in their national and regional efforts. They also noted that the potential from globalization to promote sustainable development for all remains to be realised.

45. The Leaders therefore agreed that the Forum’s approach to the global arena should continue to focus on creating a level playing field by improving corporate and international governance and providing for special and differential treatment for small and vulnerable island economies. In this regard, the Leaders were pleased to note the excellent progress made in establishing a permanent office for the Forum in Geneva to facilitate the effective participation of Forum island governments in the World Trade Organization and multilateral trade in general. The Leaders thanked the European Union for the funding and the Government of Fiji Islands for facilitating the accreditation of the Forum to the WTO.

Fisheries

46. Leaders reiterated their determination that the region’s tuna resources must be managed on a sustainable basis for future generations.

47. Leaders noted the concern of some member countries over the huge amount of small tuna and other non-targeted species being caught and destroyed through the purse seining fishing method. This is evidenced by the observed decline in the biomass of tuna as a result of the persistently low replacement rate over the years, coupled with the drastic decline of artisanal tuna caught. As part of the Forum’s precautionary approach to the safeguarding of its ocean resources, Leaders encouraged the distant water fishing nations to consider management measures such as increasing the mesh size netting around the part of the purse seine (known as the sack) to a size that would allow the catch of the juvenile tuna and other small fish to escape. Leaders referred this matter to the Forum Fisheries Agency and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

48. Leaders warmly welcomed the successful conclusion of the negotiations with the United States of America for an extension of Multilateral Fisheries Treaty to 2013 and the satisfactory outcome of the second Preparatory Conference in Madang, Papua New Guinea, and progress made in the implementation of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Convention. Leaders urged all members who have not done so to ratify or accede to the Convention as soon as possible.

49. They also welcomed the progress in the establishment of the Western and Central Pacific Tuna Commission and the decision by the Forum Fisheries Committee (FFC) to support the bid by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) to host the Tuna Commission Headquarters.

50. The Leaders also welcomed Tokelau as the newest member of the Forum Fisheries Agency.

E. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

Population and Development

51. Leaders recalled that at their 2001 meeting, they expressed concerns over increasing problems for countries in the region arising from rapid population increases. Current trends indicate that most members can expect continuing population growth for at least the next three decades. This, in association with the spread of modernization, will generate a greater demand on limited resources, which could further erode the living standards of its people.

52. Given continued population growth and weak GDP growth, Leaders called for a more vigorous implementation of the Forum Economic Action Plan and the Forum Basic Education Action Plan in order to improve the prospects of Pacific Islanders seeking sustainable livelihoods through private sector development, and the integration of economic strategies with human resource development and environmental protection.

HIV/AIDS

53. The Forum expressed its deep concern at the threat posed by HIV/AIDS and called for additional measures at the national and regional levels to address this. Leaders directed the Secretariat to encourage, through other regional and international organisations and stakeholders, the development of a Pacific Regional Plan of Action against HIV/AIDS, including an effective resourcing mechanism. They also endorsed a concerted regional approach to accessing global funds such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

54. Leaders expressed their appreciation to Australia for the assistance provided to the region to address this problem.

F. SMALLER ISLAND STATES

55. The Leaders noted the decisions of the Smaller Island States Summit as summarized in its report at Annex 3.

G. OBSERVERSHIP

East Timor

56. Leaders welcomed East Timor as a Special Observer, with equivalent rights of an observer.

H. EXTERNAL RELATIONS

Application by India for Post-Forum Dialogue Partner Status

57. The Forum noted the continuing strong interest in the affairs of the Pacific Islands Forum by partners of the region and welcomed India as the newest Post-Forum Dialogue Partner, to take effect at the 2003 Post-Forum Dialogue Meetings.

West Papua

58. Forum Leaders welcomed the passing of a special autonomy law for Papua, but urged Indonesia, the sovereign authority, to ensure its full and timely implementation. Leaders expressed concern about continuing violence in Papua and called on all parties to protect and uphold the human rights of all residents in Papua and to resolve differences by peaceful means.

I. APPRECIATION

59. The Forum commended the outgoing Chairman, HE Mr Rene Harris, President of the Republic of Nauru, and his Government for his leadership of the Forum over the past year.

J. VENUE

60. The Forum Leaders welcomed New Zealand’s offer to host the 2003 Forum and related meetings in mid August 2003.

Annex 1

NASONINI DECLARATION ON REGIONAL SECURITY

Forum Leaders recalled their commitment in the 1992 Honiara Declaration on Law Enforcement Cooperation, the 1997 Aitutaki Declaration and the Biketawa Declaration adopted in 2000 to act collectively in response to security challenges including the adverse effects of globalisation such as transnational crimes, and unlawful challenges to national integrity and independence.

2. In this regard, Leaders recalled their commitment to good governance practices at all levels as a key fundamental strategy for addressing some of the difficult and sensitive issues underlying the causes of tension and conflict in the region.

3. Leaders expressed their concern about the recent heightened threat to global and regional security following the events of September 11th 2001, in particular, those posed by international terrorism and transnational crime.

4. Recognising the need for immediate and sustained regional action in response to the current regional security environment, Forum Leaders affirmed the importance of the Honiara Declaration, in particular, as providing a firm foundation for action to address these new and heightened threats to security in the region.

5. Forum Leaders underlined their commitment to the importance of global efforts to combat terrorism and to implement internationally agreed anti-terrorism measures, such as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 and the Financial Action Task Force Special Recommendations, including associated reporting requirements.

6. The Forum Leaders reaffirmed that law enforcement cooperation, backed by a strong common legislative base, should remain an important focus for the region and welcomed progress which has been made in regional law enforcement cooperation under the auspices of the relevant regional bodies.

7 Forum Leaders noted however, that, while some progress had been made in the implementation of the Honiara Declaration, further urgent action was required of some member states and recommitted to full implementation of relevant legislation under the Honiara Declaration by the end of 2003.

8. Leaders underlined the importance to Members of introducing legislation and developing national strategies to combat serious crime including money laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism and terrorist financing, people smuggling, and people trafficking in accordance with international requirements in these areas, taking into account work undertaken by other bodies including the UN and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

9. Forum Leaders tasked the Forum Regional Security Committee to review regional implementation of UNSCR 1373, the FATF Special Recommendations and the Honiara Declaration and report back to the Forum at next year’s meeting on these subjects.

Annex 2

PACIFIC ISLANDS REGIONAL OCEAN POLICY

VISION

A healthy Ocean that sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of Pacific Island communities.

THIS IS OUR OCEAN

1. The care of the ocean is the responsibility of all people. The oceans are inter-connected and interdependent, covering some seventy per cent of the world’s surface. They are the last great frontier and their conservation and sustainable use is vital to the well being and survival of the human race.

2. Pacific Island communities inhabit the islands scattered throughout an Ocean across which some of the most inspiring migrations in human history have taken place, over many thousands of years. The Ocean unites Pacific Island communities more than anything else. It has supported generations of Pacific Island communities – not only as a medium for transport but also as a source of food, tradition and culture.

3. Our Ocean, coastal and island ecosystems contain high biological diversity that has sustained the lives of Pacific Island communities since first settlement. It contains the most extensive coral reefs in the world, globally important fisheries, significant seabed mineral resources and high number of threatened species. These ecosystems may contain many undiscovered resources of potential use to humankind.

4. Many thousands of islands and atolls are entirely coastal in nature.

5. The Ocean is not only a lifeline, it is also a source of hazard. These hazards can be increased by the impact of human activities both within and external to the Pacific Islands region.

6. Our Ocean provides the greatest opportunities for economic development. Responsibly managed, it has the potential to support Pacific Island communities in perpetuity.

7. As Pacific Island communities we are acutely aware that over ninety eight per cent of the 38.5 million square kilometres of the Earth’s surface over which we have direct influence is ocean. But concerns for the long-term health of the Ocean are not confined to the areas covered by sovereign rights, they extend equally to adjacent areas of high seas.

8. Our commitment to the development of a common Policy for this Ocean stems from our collective awareness of an increasing number and severity of threats to its long-term integrity. This Policy presents a framework for the sustainable development, management and conservation of the resources and habitats within the region. It provides guiding principles for individual and collaborative action that will promote responsible stewardship of this large Ocean for regional and global benefit.

9. This policy is intended to promote the Pacific region as an ocean environment in support of sustainable development. It is not a legal document, however its guiding principles are founded on international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international and regional agreements.

10. These guiding principles are: improving our understanding of the Ocean; sustainably developing and managing use of Ocean resources; maintaining the health of the Ocean; promoting the peaceful use of the Ocean; and creating partnerships and promoting co-operation.

11. We invite others to recognise our commitment to these guiding principles and support our strategies to implement this Policy to help ensure our Ocean, coasts and islands remain healthy and sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of Pacific Island communities.

WHY A REGIONAL OCEAN POLICY?

12. The need for a Policy is based on our collective awareness of the transboundary and dynamic nature of our Ocean, the increasing number and severity of threats to its long-term integrity, and the reality that sustainable economic and social development will be dependent on wise use of the Ocean and its resources. It is also based on our awareness of the potential for fragmentation of programmes and for conflicting commitments in different sectors as ocean-related activities increase. This requires increased regional collaborative arrangements among Pacific Island communities.

PACIFIC ISLANDS REGION

13. For the purpose of this Policy, the "region" includes that part of the Pacific Ocean in which the island countries and territories (Pacific Communities), that are members of the organisations comprising the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) are found. As such, the extent of the region includes not only the area within the 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) boundaries circumscribing these island countries, but also the ocean and coastal areas that encompass the extent of the marine ecosystems that support the region.

14. The "Ocean" is defined to include the waters of the ocean, the living and non-living elements within, the seabed beneath and the ocean-atmosphere and ocean-island interfaces.

15. Pacific Islands are often referred to as Small Island Developing States. They may also be thought of as Large Ocean Developing States.

Capacity Building

16. In order to replenish and sustain our knowledge base, it is necessary to generate new knowledge about the oceans upon which our way of life depends. Fundamental to the sustained generation of new knowledge is the continuing education of a cadre of scientists and policy makers. Educating and training people within the region is the best strategy for ensuring the continuity of marine understanding and replenishment of knowledge.

Vulnerability

17. Pacific Island communities are particularly vulnerable to certain environmental, economic and social circumstances.

18. Environmental factors include: climate variability, climate change and sea-level rise; immediate natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic events, fragile ecosystems and natural resource bases, and geographic isolation.

19. Economic factors include: limited land area and freshwater resources; limited local markets; high import dependencies; fluctuating world prices for commodities; and isolation, including large distances to world markets.

20. Social factors include: population growth & distribution; human and food security; external influences, cultural dilution and loss of traditional knowledge and practices.

Rights and responsibilities

21. The Ocean has been the major influence in the history of Pacific Island communities. Throughout the region, customary association with the sea forms the basis of present day social structures, livelihoods and tenure systems and traditional systems of stewardship governing its use.

22. International law and instruments confer rights on Pacific Island communities relating to the use of the Ocean and its resources. With these rights come responsibilities, especially for sustainable development, management and conservation of the ocean’s living resources and for the protection of the ocean environment and its biodiversity.

23. Pacific Island communities have established national laws, based on international principles and customary practices, which provide for responsible management and use of the Ocean and its resources within their areas of jurisdiction.

24. The Pacific communities will work with other partners to promote the application of compatible policies by those partners in areas subject to their jurisdiction and surrounding waters, and with all other countries having interests in the region.

25. Island communities respect the rights and interests of others to participate in legitimate activities. With this sharing comes the expectation that they will meet their obligations and responsibilities to our Ocean.

26. This Policy promotes good stewardship which refers to active engagement by communities in caring for the oceans. It draws upon ideas, policies, institutions and enforcement procedures needed to protect the oceans and coasts from abuse including the effects of land-based activities.

VISION

A healthy Ocean that sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of Pacific Island communities.

GOAL

27. The goal of this Policy is to ensure the future sustainable use of our Ocean and its resources by Pacific Islands communities and external partners.

28. The Guiding Principles to achieve this Goal are:

· Improving our Understanding of the Ocean

· Sustainably Developing and Managing the use of Ocean Resources

· Maintaining the Health Of the Ocean

· Promoting the Peaceful Use of the Ocean

· Creating Partnerships and Promoting Co-Operation

PRINCIPLE 1- IMPROVING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE OCEAN

29. Contemporary and traditional understanding of the ocean provides the basis for sustainable use of the ocean and its resources, for the amelioration of pollution and harmful practices and for the prediction of weather, climate and ocean variability.

30. Resource management approaches based purely on scientific information have had limited success in the region over the last 50 years. The cost of obtaining scientific information, in all but a few highly commercialised systems, is beyond the capacity of many islands. As a result resource managers in the Region advocate precautionary management approaches that are more robust where comprehensive scientific understanding and intensive monitoring are difficult. This includes an enhanced role for communities and customary resource owners in the development and application of local management arrangements for local resources.

31. Whilst community approaches are essential for implementing effective resource management in many cases, the long-term maintenance of exploited ecosystems, particularly transboundary systems, still requires better science. Increased understanding of ocean and coastal processes and ecosystems is critically dependent on shared access to global and regional developments in science and technology, to enable research, exploration and development of both living and non-living marine resources, and on economic systems that can pay for long-term monitoring and observation. The result will be improved ability to effectively conserve marine biological diversity and predict the impact of climate variation and human use patterns on the health of the ocean.

Strategic Actions

To identify and prioritise information needs and the co-operative mechanisms for acquiring, accessing and disseminating information.

To strengthen national and regional capacity, encourage partnerships between regional and international organisations, and the public and private sectors, to improve our understanding of the ocean.

To facilitate access to this information, encourage its wide application in the implementation of this Policy and any compatible national ocean policies that may be developed in association with it.

To have regard for traditional knowledge and its potential to contribute to better understanding the ocean and to the effective management of resources.

To promote further formal education and training of local people in marine science and marine affairs disciplines.

PRINCIPLE 2 – SUSTAINABLY DEVELOPING AND MANAGING THE USE OF OCEAN RESOURCES

32. Pacific Island communities are heavily reliant on the wide range of resources and services that the Ocean provides for their social, cultural and economic security. This includes not only the existing extractive uses of its living and non-living resources but also the non-extractive uses such as transport and communication, waste disposal, recreation and tourism, and cultural activities. New research, technologies and markets are creating opportunities for accessing and using the ocean and its resources.

33. To safeguard Pacific Island communities and maintain the health of our Ocean in perpetuity, it is imperative that we adopt a precautionary management approach to ensure the use of the Ocean and its resources are sustainable.

Strategic Actions

To identify, prioritise and implement resource development and management actions and regimes, in accordance with the precautionary approach;

To encourage equitable sharing of resource access and benefits at local, national and regional levels;

To engage, as appropriate, local communities and other stakeholders in resource management decision making;

To build capacity of Pacific Island communities for sustainable resource development and management;

To establish and protect traditional knowledge rights.

To establish and protect intellectual property rights.

PRINCIPLE 3 - MAINTAINING THE HEALTH OF THE OCEAN

34. The health and productivity of our Ocean is driven by regional-scale ecosystem processes. It is dependent upon preserving ecosystem integrity and minimising the harmful impact of human activity.

35. Threats to ocean and coastal health and productivity, reflected in a degradation in water quality and resource depletion include accidental and deliberate dumping of fuels, chemicals and ballast water from ships, aircraft and satellite launches, and non sustainable resource use.

36. Pollution from the land contributes up to eighty per cent of all ocean pollution and is a major threat to the long-term health of nearshore systems affecting ecological processes, public health and social and commercial use of ocean resources.

Strategic Actions

To adopt an integrated transboundary approach, through harmonised institutional arrangements, including existing international and regional agreements, to managing marine ecosystems for long-term sustainable benefit.

To incorporate sound environmental and social practices into economic development activities.

To protect and conserve biological diversity of the ocean ecosystem at local, national and regional scales.

To reduce the impact of all sources of pollution on our Ocean environment.

PRINCIPLE 4 – PROMOTING THE PEACEFUL USE OF THE OCEAN

37. Peaceful uses of the Ocean have environmental, political, social economic, and security dimensions. Promoting peaceful use means discouraging and reducing unacceptable, illicit, criminal, or other activities contrary to regional and international agreements. Such activities threaten the major source of livelihood for Pacific Island communities.

Strategic Actions

To ensure that all activities carried out in our Ocean meet all relevant international and regional standards, and do not cause environmental damage, social or economic hardship in the region.

To seek remedial action in the event of an incident resulting from non-peaceful use of the Ocean

To ensure that the ocean is not used for criminal activities nor for other activities that breach local, national or international laws

To encourage co-operation amongst law enforcement agencies.

PRINCIPLE 5 – CREATING PARTNERSHIPS AND PROMOTING CO-OPERATION

38. Partnerships and cooperation provide an enabling environment and are essential for the sustainable management of our Ocean. As a group Pacific Island communities achieve economies of scale, a united voice for international advocacy, a regional power bloc with increased international influence and a forum for developing coordinated action on ocean issues of mutual interest or with transboundary implications.

39. In pursuit of creating partnerships and promoting cooperation, Pacific Island communities will seek to maintain sovereign rights and responsibilities in managing, protecting and developing the Ocean.

Strategic Actions

To foster partnerships and cooperation in the areas of security, monitoring, enforcement and the sustainable use of resources.

To make fullest possible use of regional and international partnerships and collaboration, such as regional organisations, ocean-related treaties, and bilateral arrangements as appropriate.

To have regard for the ocean policies of ocean jurisdictions adjoining our own, and advocate that their policies have regard for this Policy.

To encourage Pacific Island communities to develop national ocean policies that complement and are consistent with this Policy.

FUTURE

40. This Policy is the result of a regional effort to achieve responsible ocean governance. It is based on existing international and regional agreements that establish a broad framework for regional cooperation and coordination to sustainably manage and conserve the ocean ecosystem in the region. It provides the basis for the harmonisation of national and regional actions, for the next five years. The implementation process will require a commitment by all stakeholders.

41. This Policy articulates guiding principles and strategic actions that will define a regional Pacific Ocean Initiative. The Initiative will include a Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Summit to define the status of current knowledge and activities, and a review process to define progress, and will provide an integrated framework to include existing programmes, and identify and prioritise future Action Plans.

Annex 3

SMALLER ISLAND STATES ELEVENTH SIS LEADERS’ SUMMIT

Suva, Fiji

August 15, 2002

SUMMARY OF DECISIONS

The Forum’s Smaller Island States (SIS) Summit was held on 15 August 2002 in Suva, Fiji. Leaders from the Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu attended, together with representatives from Nauru, Niue and the Republic of Marshall Islands. The meeting was chaired by the President of Kiribati. Leaders welcomed attendance by CROP organisations and the representatives of the Pacific Forum Line and the Association of South Pacific Airlines.

Air Services

2. The Summit resolved to address the issue of the inadequacy of international air links among themselves through cooperative actions and, in particular, reaffirmed cooperation among Central Pacific nations on the establishment of a sub-regional airline.

Small Grant Funds

3. Leaders of the SIS thanked donors for their support of assistance programmes addressing the special concerns of SIS members. SIS Leaders expressed their appreciation for the provision of the Taiwan/ROC-PIFS Scholarship Scheme and encouraged Taiwan/ROC to increase their support for the Scheme. They noted the importance of scholarships to the overall development of the region and called upon donors to give consideration to support such schemes.

Issues for Forum

4. The Summit considered the issues that were being brought to the attention of Forum. Leaders agreed to focus on issues of particular concern, as set out below.

Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy

5. SIS Leaders endorsed the vision of the Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy as one that will ensure the future sustainable use of our Ocean and its resources by Pacific islanders and external partners. They welcomed the intention to develop an action plan to implement the guiding principles for a healthy ocean that sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of the island communities.

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

6. The Leaders of the SIS highlighted the threat to their homes, lives, and culture that climate change has caused. They expressed continued profound disappointment and grave concern at the decision of the United States to reject the Kyoto Protocol, but warmly welcomed the acceptance of the Protocol by Japan and approval of the Protocol by the European Community. They urged all Parties (of the UNFCCC) to urgently ratify the Protocol, which is a significant first step forward on a path to ensuring effective global action to combat climate change.

7. The SIS Leaders agreed that the only way to address the issue of climate change globally was through commitment by all UNFCCC Parties to the Kyoto Protocol rather than through any other global effort or equivalent means. The Summit issued the attached Leaders’ statement on climate change.

Land and Coastal Resource Management

8. The SIS Leaders noted the importance of land and coastal resource management issues to be considered by Forum in building resilience of Pacific Island Communities.

Transport of Radioactive Materials

9. Reiterating their continuing and grave concerns over the shipment of radio active materials through the region, SIS Leaders expressed their disappointment that shipping states had not met with Forum members prior to the August 2002 meeting. The Summit called on shipping states to meet with Forum members as soon as possible to seriously consider accepting full responsibility and liability for compensation for any damage which may result directly or indirectly from transport of radioactive materials through the region; and ensuring the highest possible safety standards are met and the appropriate advanced notification and consultations with states in the region through which the shipments pass.

Population and Development

10. In the context of continued population growth but weak GDP growth, SIS Leaders called for a more vigorous implementation of Forum Economic Action Plans and the Forum Basic Education Action Plan in order to improve the prospects of Pacific Islanders seeking sustainable livelihoods. These action plans promote sustainable development through the enhancement of the integration of economic strategies for development, including the growth of the private sector, with human resource development and environmental protection.

HIV/AIDS

11. The Summit expressed deep concern at the threat posed by HIV/AIDS and strong support for additional measures at the national and regional levels to address this threat. They endorsed a concerted regional approach to accessing global funds such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

9th European Development Fund

12. SIS Leaders expressed their desire to see the Pacific Regional Indicative Programme (PRIP) encompass tourism.

Northern Group USP Initiative

13. The Summit endorsed an initiative that called for the establishment of a modest USP Northern Region Campus in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This initiative would assist in meeting the human resource development needs of the SIS, especially through the provision of pre-tertiary and early-childhood teacher training programmes.

Attachment

Statement on Climate Change by Smaller Island States

On the occasion of their annual Summit held on 15 August 2002 in Suva, Fiji, the Heads of State and Heads of Government of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, and Tuvalu, and representatives of Nauru, Niue, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, comprising the Smaller Island States of the Forum:

(1) noted the authoritative nature of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued in 2001;

(2) expressed their continuing grave concerns about the current and potential diverse impacts of climate change, climate variability and sea level rise on all Smaller Island States members;

(3) called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for further commitments in the future by all major emitters;

(4) emphasised the need for all nations to commit to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the adverse impacts of climate change, taking into account the special circumstances of small island developing States;

(5) agreed that the only truly effective way to address the issue of climate change globally was through full commitment by all UNFCCC Parties to the objectives of the Convention and the full implementation of the Kyoto Protocol;

(6) expressed profound disappointment at the decision of the US to reject the Kyoto Protocol;

(7) urged all Parties of the UNFCCC to urgently ratify the Kyoto Protocol which is a significant first step forward on a path to ensuring effective global action to combat climate change; and

(8) warmly welcomed the acceptance of the Protocol by Japan and approval of the Protocol by the European Community.

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