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Security will be a key topic when the region's leaders meet in Nauru next month, the secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum Dame Meg Taylor says.
Dame Meg made the comment while speaking to the Forum Officials Committee (FOC), which comes together before each summit to ensure policy priorities are sorted out.
“The review of the Forum’s security architecture is one of these issues. You’ll recall that at last year’s Forum, Leaders tasked the Forum Secretariat to initiate consultations on developing a comprehensive ‘Biketawa Plus’ declaration which expands and strengthens our region’s capacity for collective action in the face of new and emerging security threats.
“We have since embarked on an extensive course of consultation, meeting with a wide range of stakeholders across the region. These consultations have informed a draft declaration which proposes a high-level articulation of the Forum’s concerns about the current security environment, and the Forum’s commitment to and expectations of regional security cooperation. This meeting of the FOC and the meeting of the Forum Foreign Ministers provide an important opportunity to refine the draft declaration so that it can be submitted to the Forum Leaders for their consideration.
“Another important area of work has been on strengthening the Forum’s engagement and advocacy on the policy priorities agreed by Leaders. You’ll recall that this was an issue highlighted by Forum Foreign Ministers last year, with Ministers tasking the Forum Secretariat to coordinate a FOC Sub-Committee of Members to develop a rolling strategy for international engagement and advocacy. This year we have worked closely with Members to establish the Sub-Committee and to prepare a draft strategy for the Forum’s engagement and advocacy in 2018-19,” said Dame Meg.
She said the committee will be asked to review the draft strategy in advance of discussion on it at the Forum Foreign Ministers on Friday.
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