Climate, fishing dominate meetings

Monday May 21, 2018 Written by Published in Politics
Prime minister Puna meets Japan’s Foreign Minister Kono. Prime minister Puna meets Japan’s Foreign Minister Kono.

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders and the prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe committed to stronger action on climate change and the sustainable management of fisheries resources at the Eight Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 8) in Iwaki-city, Fukishima, Japan on Saturday (CI time).

 

Forum leaders and prime minister Abe committed to strengthening efforts to address the effects of climate change, given the existential threat it poses to Forum Island Countries and the region.

They emphasised the need to step up leadership roles in international negotiations, to finalise the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement, and increase levels of climate finance commensurate with the needs of FICs.

In an intervention during the summit, Puna commended Japan’s support for the Pacific Climate Change Centre and noted the development of a Pacific Resilience Facility which would support greater access to resilience funding.

However, more needed to be done and Puna called on Japan and parties to the Paris Agreement to “support efforts and allocate resources to rapidly build resilience, particularly amongst countries most vulnerable, including those from our Pacific”.

Puna also delivered a strong statement on oceans management and the importance of fisheries to the prosperity of the region.

He commended Japan for their contributions to the region’s fisheries management initiatives over the years and welcomed Japan’s commitment to further support the Pacific combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

He emphasised zone based management as critical to the future sustainability of our shared fisheries resource.

“If the fisheries zone based management framework in our region is undermined or weakened our region faces the very real threat of a reduction in our capability to maintain and increase our revenue and income opportunities from our highly migratory fish resources, and indeed to conserve and manage them effectively.

“Reduction in these sovereign economic benefits would further impoverish us and simply leave us even more dependent on external donors.”

Forum leaders welcomed Japan’s commitment to strong development cooperation and people to people exchanges of 5,000 people over the next three years.

“In discussing a new capacity building programme on maritime law enforcement, Forum Leaders emphasised the importance of this being implemented to accordance with established institutions and frameworks.

Supporting Forum members in their engagement with Japan at PALM 8 were key regional organisations including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, the Forum Fisheries Agency and the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program.

Puna also held talks with prime minister Abe and Japan’s Foreign minister, Taro Kono and other Forum leaders in the margins of the leader’s summit. The two governments have committed to further strengthen co-operation in renewable energy conversion including as relate to solar and hydrogen, tourism, people to people exchanges for capacity and capability development and multilateral collaboration including fora such as the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the World Health Organisation and UNESCO among others.

The PALM was initiated by Japan in 1997 to strengthen relations with Forum member countries and work jointly towards the development of the Pacific region. Held every three years, the PALM is co-chaired by the prime minister of Japan and the chair of the PIF.

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