PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT

Pacific Islands Development Program/East-West Center
With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies/University of Hawai‘i


THE NATADOLA COMMUNIQUE
‘Engaging Fiji’ Participants issue formal statement

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 22, 2010) – The Head of State of Kiribati, Prime Ministers of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Fiji and the Ministers, Ambassadors, High Commissioners and Representatives of Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu met in Natadola, Fiji on 22 - 23 July 2010 to discuss issues of common interest including trade, security, sustainable development, good governance, commerce, environmental pollution, climate change and Fiji's Strategic Framework for Change.

The Leaders expressed their appreciation and gratitude to the Government and people of Fiji for their warm hospitality.

The Leaders:

  • Acknowledged with appreciation the high level of representation and attendance of the Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) that participated in the meeting;
  • Reaffirmed the special cultural bonds and ties that the PSIDS share with each other;
  • Agreed that Fiji's Strategic Framework for Change (SFC) is a credible home-grown process for positioning Fiji as a modern nation and to hold true democratic elections;
  • Agreed that important lessons could be learnt and shared within the region, from Fiji's experience and Fiji's implementation of the Strategic Framework for Change;
  • Recognised the need for Fiji's continuous engagement with the region and its full participation in regional development, initiatives and aspirations;
  • Acknowledged opportunities for partnership offered by Kiribati to develop joint ventures in fisheries processing;
  • Acknowledged opportunities offered by Papua New Guinea in various sectors to PSIDS on bilateral basis which include mining and exploration, employment, petroleum, education and other investment opportunities that could be taken up by the Pacific Island countries through bilateral arrangements;
  • Agreed that the opportunities available in Asia have the potential to stimulate economic growth and investment in PSIDS and recommended strengthening of economic ties with Asia;
  • Reiterate the need for PSIDS to take a stronger and united position on issues relating to climate change and sea level rise that affect the survival of the Pacific Island Countries;
  • Expressed concerns that funding committed at the global level for adaptation measures on climate change is yet to materialise and funding already channelled through regional institutions by our development partners are being unnecessarily delayed by complex procedures and high consultation fees;
  • Called on regional organisations and development partners to expeditiously disburse funds committed on climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives;
  • Reaffirmed the urgent need to conserve the region's ocean resources and supported the Pacific Ocean 2020 Challenge and other conservatory measures such as the Coral Triangle Initiative, Micronesian Challenge and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area;
  • Committed that the fisheries resources and deep sea mineral resources must be exploited on sustainable and environmentally friendly manner
  • Agreed to consider the proposal by Fiji to conclude on a bilateral basis with PSIDS agreements on areas which include trade, regional tourism, education, shipping, aviation, immigration, fisheries, assistance in modernising laws, labour mobility, cooperation between chambers of commerce and the private sector and regional hub.
  • Noted the outcomes of the Police Commissioners Meeting that took place on 21 July 2010 and supported the setting up of a Regional Police Academy.
  • Acknowledged the presentation on the 'Pacific Bridge to Noble Wealth' project and the potential opportunities available for Pacific countries to integrate knowledge-based economies and tourism industries for sustainable development.
  • Agreed to the concept of "Rethinking Oceania" and endorsed the efforts of the Pacific Conference of Churches to recommend a development model that moves Oceania towards inclusiveness and sufficiency, report back in two years time.
  • Accepted the Fiji Government's offer to organise annual meeting of Pacific Small Island Developing States to continue engaging with Fiji and review other issues they have discussed at Natadola.

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