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Joint Statement by Leaders of Pacific Islands Forum, UN Secretary-General
Following is a joint statement by leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum and the United Nations Secretary-General:
The leaders of Pacific Islands Forum countries and the Secretary-General of the United Nations met on 26 September 2012 on the margins of the sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
They reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Charter and its principles.
At their meeting, Pacific Islands Forum leaders acknowledged the valuable contribution made by the United Nations system in the Pacific; and the Secretary-General of the United Nations acknowledged the key role played by the Pacific Islands Forum and its members in promoting sustainable development, good governance and peace and security through regional cooperation in the Pacific.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations welcomed the theme of the forty-third Pacific Islands Forum, “Large Ocean Island States: the Pacific Challenge”, held in the Cook Islands on 27-31 August 2012, and welcomed the Communiqué and its Gender Equality Declaration issued by Pacific Islands Forum leaders.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations and Pacific Islands Forum leaders recalled their Joint Statement of 7 September 2011; reaffirmed the value of cooperation between the United Nations system and Pacific Islands Forum countries, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and its associated institutions; and reiterated their shared commitment to considering practical ways to further strengthen such cooperation.
In this regard, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Pacific Islands Forum leaders:
Discussed key challenges facing the Pacific region and stressed the role of the United Nations system in assisting Pacific island countries address these challenges, and emphasised the need for greater accountability and reporting of the support provided by the United Nations system to Pacific small island developing States.
Reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the Pacific by 2015, and discussed ways of enhancing the United Nations system’s support for national and regional efforts in this regard, in line with national and regional priorities and relevant international frameworks, including the Barbados Programme of Action, the Mauritius Strategy and the Istanbul Programme of Action, noting in this regard progress made through ongoing programmes and projects.
Welcomed outcomes agreed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), noting in particular the importance to Pacific States of outcomes on climate change and ocean acidification, the conservation and sustainable management of oceans, coastal and fisheries resources, promotion of sustainable energy and transport, food and water security, and disaster risk reduction and emergency relief and recovery, and calling for their full, timely and effective implementation; stressed the importance of enhanced support for and investment in Pacific States’ productive sectors; and agreed to consider financial, technological and other practical ways the United Nations system could support efforts to implement these outcomes in the Pacific, in line with national and regional priorities.
Stressed in this regard the critical importance of the sustainable development, management and conservation of the region’s oceans, coastal and fisheries resources as a source of livelihoods and income for communities, industries and Governments, and called for the identification and mainstreaming of strategies by 2014 that further assist developing countries, in particular the least developed countries and small island developing States, in developing their national capacity to conserve, sustainably manage and realize the benefits of sustainable fisheries.
Recognized the unique and particular vulnerabilities and development needs of small island developing States and the continuing need to increase their resilience; welcomed the decision to hold a third International Conference on small island developing States in 2014, noted the support of Pacific leaders and members of the Alliance of Small Island States for it to be convened in the Pacific, and stressed the importance of ensuring all Pacific small island developing States are able to participate fully; and emphasized the importance of ensuring these vulnerabilities and needs are adequately reflected in discussions and decisions on the post-2015 United Nations development agenda, including agreement on sustainable development goals.
Stressed that climate change, ocean acidification and sea-level rise remained the greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific; reaffirmed the need for urgent international action to reduce emissions commensurate with the science and associated social, economic and security impacts, sufficient to enable the survival and viability of all Pacific small island developing States; stressed the need to address these impacts in all relevant international forums, including but not limited to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the General Assembly and the Security Council; noted the proposal by the Ambassadors for Responsibility on Climate Change group to request through the General Assembly an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice; and highlighted the role of the United Nations system in supporting national, regional and international efforts in this regard.
Reiterated the urgent need to address the serious and unprecedented threats to international peace and security caused by current and projected adverse impacts of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, including extreme and slow onset events, threats to water and food security, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement; and emphasized the imperative for the international community to identify such threats and to assist vulnerable countries in assessing and addressing their own related security challenges resulting from climate change.
Reiterated the value of enhanced cooperation and experience-sharing on conflict prevention, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, building on positive experiences in the Solomon Islands and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and looked forward to increasing dialogue in this regard and to considering collaborative activities in such areas as peacebuilding, democratic governance and transition, human rights and rule of law.
Noted a range of other areas in which cooperation between the United Nations and Pacific States would support the national and regional priorities identified by Pacific Islands Forum leaders and help strengthen the resilience of Pacific island countries. These included, but were not limited to: increasing productive capacity of Pacific small island developing States, including to improve food, water and energy security; transportation; non-communicable diseases; human rights, including engagement with the universal periodic review process and other human rights mechanisms; and measures to address the economic and political empowerment of women and address gender-based violence; disaster risk reduction and emergency relief and recovery; non-proliferation and disarmament, including small arms and light weapons and the negotiation and regional implementation of an arms trade treaty and security sector reform; and addressing the ongoing impacts of nuclear testing in the Pacific.
Stressed the value of close cooperation and coordination between the programmes and activities of the United Nations system and Pacific Islands Forum countries, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, and associated institutions; welcomed recent efforts by CROP Executives and United Nations Heads of Agencies in the Pacific to strengthen cooperation through joint activities, working groups and other means; and agreed to explore further practical ways of enhancing such cooperation and coordination, in line with national priorities and needs, including in implementation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework and the Pacific Plan, and to report on progress to the next meeting of Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific leaders.
Noted the continued commitment to regional cooperation and integration and the intention to review and update the Pacific Plan in 2013, as well as progress being made in implementing the Cairns Compact through tracking and reporting on development effectiveness and region-wide progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals; welcomed support from United Nations agencies and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat towards these efforts and towards effective Pacific engagement in relevant international meetings on sustainable development; and encouraged further such cooperation.
Noted the challenges faced by small island developing States in meeting international reporting obligations, and agreed to consider practical ways of facilitating enhanced reporting while reducing related compliance burdens and transaction costs.
Reaffirmed the importance of ensuring an enhanced and effective United Nations presence, particularly at the country level, in the Pacific region; and agreed to engage in dialogue between United Nations regional and country teams, Pacific States and other relevant stakeholders to consider practical ways in which progress could be made in this area.
Emphasized the importance of adequate collection of data and statistics for making accurate assessments and effective decision-making, and agreed to cooperate on practical ways of ensuring such data and statistics were available for all States, regardless of population size, as well as to build relevant national capacities in the Pacific.
Reaffirmed their commitment to regular dialogue between the United Nations system and Pacific Islands Forum members, including on the margins of the General Assembly, and agreed to meet again by 2014.
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