Japan - Pacific island countries partnership critical for regional cooperation

Pacific Islands News Association:

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pacific Island leaders met in New York with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in the lead up to the seventh Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting (PALM7) to be held in Iwaki, Japan in May 2015.

Held on 25 September in the margins of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly general debate, the pre-PALM7 meeting signaled the reaffirmation of commitment between Japan and the Pacific on development cooperation and strengthened partnerships.

“Pacific Island Countries have established a strong relationship with Japan on a number of areas, including climate change and disaster risk reduction,” said Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan.

Tommy E. Remengesau Jr., President of the Republic of Palau and the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, urged Japan to work closely with Pacific countries to enhance efforts to action the Majuro Declaration for Climate Leadership, the Palau Declaration on Oceans and the Samoa Pathway outcomes. He further called on Japan’s support to ensure that the interests of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are not lost in the forthcoming negotiations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Leaders also raised and discussed issues of importance to the Pacific that would likely feature at the next meeting between Japan and the Pacific, which included, but not limited to: climate change, disaster risk reduction, oceans conservation and people-to-people exchanges. Henry Puna, Prime Minister for the Cook Islands emphasized the importance of the PALM process and the need for a comprehensive PALM7 meeting agenda. “The significance of the Japan-Pacific ‘Kizuna’ partnership through the PALM process is of immense value to all countries and we welcome the opportunity to meet today,” he said.

The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting with Japan is a summit-level meeting which has been held every three years since 1997. Leaders openly discuss various issues that Pacific island countries are facing in order to build close cooperative relationships and strengthen a bond of friendship between Japan and Pacific island countries.

The PALM6 Summit that was held in 2012 was attended by the Heads of State and Government and representatives of the Pacific Island countries. Amongst other matters, they agreed on the need for a comprehensive response to climate change adaptation in the Pacific and on the importance of promoting sustainable development based on human security through the Millennium Development Goals.

The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) is a forum between the government of Japan and leaders in the Pacific Islands region. The Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting was established by Japan in 1997 in order to facilitate and strengthen relations with the leaders of the nations of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Since its foundation, the PALM has become an important venue of dialogue between Japan and Pacific Island nations for important issues such as development aid and climate change. The PALM also provides an opportunity to discuss and set priorities for political commitment, supported by transparent and joint means for implementation and a robust and inclusive mechanism to monitor and progress these efforts.

Read story: Pacific Islands News Association

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