6 Feb 2018

Pacific Forum secretary general visits Canberra

1:28 pm on 6 February 2018

The secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum is in Canberra this week for consultations with Australia on the future of regional policies.

The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor says West Papua is a sensitive issue.

Dame Meg Taylor Photo: AFP

Dame Meg Taylor said her discussions would focus on ensuring that people are at the centre of development across the Pacific.

Her agenda includes consultation on where the region fits in Australian Foreign Policy, an expanded regional security declaration to be known as Biketewa plus and seeking innovative approaches to building Pacific communities and countries that are more resilient to climate change and natural disasters.

As part of the visit Dame Meg will meet with foreign minister Julie Bishop and the minister for international development and the Pacific, Senator Concetta Fierravanti Wells.

Over the last month, the Forum Secretariat has been running in-country consultations to inform the development of regional policy options and initiatives that will be considered by Pacific Leaders when they meet in Nauru later this year.

"These discussions are integral to ensuring that the policy advice we present to Forum Leaders on issues of importance to the region is grounded in the concerns and challenges faced by the people of this region. As such, these discussions are part of a broader process that delivers on the Forum Leaders' call for a greater level of community inclusivity and participation in the regional policy process," said Dame Meg.

"Australia was a founding member of the Pacific Islands Forum and has always been an ally to the Pacific Islands region. As such, we look forward to the concrete discussions that are set to take place on issues of enduring significance to the region as a whole - including climate change, ocean governance, labour mobility, and the establishment of a regional resilience fund," she said.

"I also look forward to discussing regional security, and in particular the ways in which Australia can continue to contribute to the development and delivery of regional arrangements that support the collective security agenda of the Pacific Islands Forum".

The Secretary General is accompanied by a team from the Forum Secretariat who intend to meet with representatives from civil society organisations, the Australian Council for International Development and the Australia Pacific Business Council.

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