Virtual conference equipment to Pacific from Australia
Australia has delivered the first of more than 30 planned virtual conferencing systems to partner security agencies across the Pacific, beginning with Vanuatu and Fiji and Samoa expected to receive them soon.
The virtual conferencing systems will enable regional security leaders to participate in the virtual Joint Heads of Pacific Security (J.H.o.P.S) event in late 2020, as well as ongoing engagement, training and responses to regional situations including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Australia's Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC stated that the initiative demonstrates how Australia is working closely with its neighbours during the "COVID-19 recovery phase" to enable meaningful engagement.
“Defence has been closely engaged with our partners in the Southwest Pacific region throughout the COVID-19 response,” Minister Reynolds said.
She further stated that they are delivering these virtual conferencing systems to their Pacific Island partners "to enable security leaders and agencies to remain connected, while we cannot physically be together."
“These simple and reliable virtual conferencing systems will support discussions on responding to the collective challenge of COVID-19, as well as collaborative approaches to regional matters," she said.
The Microsoft Surface Hub virtual conferencing systems are being delivered over the coming months through a combination of Air Force, humanitarian corridor and existing commercial flights.
The Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke stated that Australia continues to work closely with the Pacific community on their shared security interests notwithstanding challenges including COVID-19.
“Australia is as committed as ever to supporting the security community across our Pacific family," Minister Hawke said.
He further explained that the J.H.o.P.S is a great example of regional security leaders working together for peace and prosperity in the Pacific and this investment further enables that work
The systems will also be delivered to Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Palau, Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Cook Islands, Federal States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Niue and Nauru.