Press Statement - Economic Ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum will attend the 13th Forum Economic Ministers' Meeting (FEMM) in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from 27-28 October 2009.

The Forum Economic Ministers are meeting at a time when the global economy is facing significant challenges and many Forum Island Countries will experience low or negative growth in 2009.

Export revenue, tourism receipts and remittances have all been affected by the global downturn.

"There is an urgent and ongoing need to develop effective policy measures and practical responses to support Forum Island Countries during this difficult time," said Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

"This meeting will discuss practical measures which Forum Island Countries may wish to adopt in their national responses to alleviate the adverse effects of the global economic crisis and build, strong and sustained, economic resilience in the Pacific."

Mr Slade added: "The implementation of the 2009 decision by Forum Leaders on the Cairns Compact on Strengthening Development Co-ordination in the Pacific will be high on the Ministers' agenda. The Compact will help Forum Member Countries and donors to better coordinate reforms and aid delivery in order to accelerate progress towards the achievement of long-term regional socio-economic development goals."

The meeting in Rarotonga will also update delegates on the progress of work to date on regional economic issues, including findings of the Benchmark Study aimed to upgrade country and regional statistical information services systems and databases. The meeting will hear the findings of a feasibility study to explore ways to improve targeted customs services through sub-regional approaches, and another on a Regional Financial Ombudsperson. Regional initiatives to strengthen financial markets and improve banking service delivery will also be discussed.