19 Jun 2018

Pacific countries discuss new crisis response mechanism

5:45 pm on 19 June 2018

Pacific Islands Forum countries are meeting in Fiji to discuss a possible new regional framework for crisis response.

Forum Secretariat Secretary-General, Meg Taylor

Forum Secretariat Secretary-General, Meg Taylor Photo: AFP

Senior officials from Forum countries are meeting in Suva along with regional law enforcement and surveillance representatives to discuss a potential framework for responding to regional crises that could replace the Biketawa Declaration.

The Biketawa Declaration was agreed to by Forum leaders in 2000 following a coup in Fiji and amid ongoing ethnic tensions in Solomon Islands. It was intended as a mechanism for co-ordinating responses to regional crises.

Biketawa was invoked for the regional intervention in Solomon Islands to end the tensions and rebuild state machinery. It was also invoked by the Forum following major unrest in Tonga in 2006, and for a financial assistance programme in Nauru over several years from 2004.

Dubbed 'Biketawa Plus', a new framework may include security issues beyond defence and law and order, according to the Forum.

The Forum's secretary general, Meg Taylor, said wide consultation was done with member countries earlier this year.

A separate reference group had identified further issues, Dame Meg said.

"But the expanded concept of security that we've heard from people in the region is inclusive of human security, humanitarian assistance, prioritising environmental security and also regional cooperation around building resilience to disasters and climate change so it's not just about the military concept of it," she said.

Dame Meg said the security of economic zones and fisheries were also included and led by the Pacific Community (SPC).

  • Pacific Islands Forum looks for key issues facing members
  • Forum consults Pacific on security, finance and foreign policy
  • Forum consults Pacific on security, finance and foreign policy