Pacific Foreign Ministers meeting goes virtual

The Pacific Island Foreign Ministers’ Forum will be held remotely due to the range of tough lock down measures in place to prevent the possible transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Tuesday, 7 April, the Ministers are meeting online to discuss the proposed outline of a coordinated regional response to the virus in close consultation and partnership with the World Health Organisation and the Pacific Community.

On 30 March, in a letter to all forum leaders, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said he recognised that these are very much testing times for the Pacific’s small nations.

Following the initiation of the Biketawa Declaration by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Chair, also the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Kausea Natano, senior officials of the Forum have reportedly met to discuss coordinated responses including maintaining supply chains. 

The Biketawa Declaration is the Pacific’s regional mechanism for coordinating regional cooperation and assistance during a crisis.

“If ever there was a time where the region and its partners needed to work together in strong solidarity to overcome a direct and immediate threat to the lives of our people across our Blue Pacific region – it is now,” said Dame Meg Taylor, the Secretary General of the Forum. 

Last year, the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers' Meeting Delegates met in Suva, Fiji.

The Pacific Islands Forum is an inter-governmental organisation that aims to enhance cooperation between countries and territories of the Pacific Ocean.

Founded in 1971, it has 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

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