Senior officials from the Smaller Island States (SIS) within the Pacific Islands Forum will discuss a regional technical support mechanism for SIS to access and manage the expected increased flows of climate change resourcesThis is one of the issues being discussed at the one-day 2012 SIS Officials Meeting held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Suva, Fiji today. The meeting is one of a series of Forum officials meetings which will be held at the Secretariat this week in preparation for the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' meeting which will be held in the Cook Islands 27 - 31 August. SIS countries include the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu.
In his opening remarks at the meeting, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said: "Climate change remains the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and well-being of SIS."
"SIS Leaders emphasised the need to address the significance of current impacts of climate change on the SIS as urgent, requiring immediate resourcing and support. As you know, CROP agencies are developing a regional technical support mechanism for SIS to effectively access and manage the expected increased flows of climate change resources," said Mr Slade
The ongoing work on climate change finance (CCF) is being undertaken in line with the Forum Compact, as part of a region-wide effort to strengthen coordination and better use of development resources.
Forum Secretary General Mr Slade also reaffirmed the Pacific Plan as the master strategy for strengthening regional cooperation and integration for the region including the special needs of the SIS.
Mr Slade said: "The affirmation of sustainable development at the Rio +20 conference reinforces our Leaders' Vision in the Pacific Plan. Of particular importance to this meeting is the recognition of the 'special case' of Small Island Developing States which echoes our Leaders own due recognition of the special place of SIS as the most vulnerable amongst out Pacific community."
He told delegates at the meeting that as an integral part of the Pacific Plan process, the review of the Pacific Plan will be conducted in 2013.
"The review provides prospect for SIS to reassess the value of the Plan in meeting their development aspirations through regional cooperation and partnerships. Furthermore, this review may provide potential opportunities to harness a SIS Strategy under the Pacific Plan with the aim to increase focus on sub-regional cooperation and initiatives addressing the special needs of SIS," said Mr Slade.
This proposition is being discussed at the meeting.
The Forum Secretary General Mr Slade welcomed the good progress being achieved with gender equality efforts in the SIS. He congratulated the Government of Nauru for signing and ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 2011 and the Government of Palau for signing CEDAW. Mr Slade also congratulated the Government of the Republic of Marshall Islands for passing the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act last year.
Other issues to be discussed at the meeting include Trade Programmes in SIS, SIS Regional Transport Initiatives, Support for Tourism in SIS and Gender issues.
The SIS Officials meeting is also attended by representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations for the Pacific (CROP) agencies.