Monday, 5 September 2011 10:06 AM

Marles Promotes UN Cooperation on Pacific Visit

Regional security and climate change are high on the agenda for the visit by Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles to Solomon Islands and Kiribati this week.

Mr Marles is travelling with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is making his first visit to the Pacific.

In Solomon Islands, a focus of the visit was the work of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

"Australia is a strong supporter of international peace and security, through its extensive commitments to UN and other multilateral operations," Mr Marles said.

Since its deployment in 2003, RAMSI has helped to stabilise the security situation in Solomon Islands, foster economic recovery and rebuild government institutions.

Mr Marles accompanied Secretary-General Ban to RAMSI headquarters, where they met some of the police, military and civilian personnel from 15 nations who form part of the Australian-led mission.

Mr Marles also met Prime Minister Danny Philip to discuss regional issues in advance of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting in Auckland next week.

In Kiribati, Secretary-General Ban and Mr Marles will visit Te Bikenikoora, a village directly affected by climate change, and a mangrove planting site at Ambo, which aims to mitigate the impact of coastal erosion.

"At the recent UN Security Council open debate on climate change, I made clear that climate change is a real global threat, not an abstract concern."

"Low-lying states such as Kiribati are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Australia is committed to assisting small island states to respond and adapt to these impacts, and to focusing international attention on the need to build resilience in vulnerable countries," Mr Marles said.

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