Pacific Islands Forum Leaders who met in Niue in the last two days for the 39th Forum have honoured the late Greg Urwin, the former Secretary General of the Forum Secretary who passed away on 9th August after several months of illness.

At the Leaders' retreat yesterday (Wednesday) they welcomed the offer by the Prime Minister of Australia Hon. Kevin Rudd to fund the establishment, through the Forum, of five Annual Leadership Awards, to be awarded by the Forum, its Chair and the Secretariat, in the name of Greg Urwin.

Leaders further welcomed the announcement by the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Hon. Derek Sikua to posthumously award the Cross of Solomon Islands to Mr Urwin in recognition of his outstanding contribution to RAMSI. The Cross of Solomon Islands is the highest civilian award in Solomon Islands. This is in recognition of the late Urwin's efforts in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

In the final Communique issued at the end of the Leaders' retreat yesterday they acknowledged the late Mr Urwin's commitment and outstanding contribution to the political, economic and social development of the Pacific region.

The Communique stated: "Leaders also acknowledged his strong leadership as Secretary General that led to many major achievements, including the firm establishment of the Pacific Plan as the platform for ongoing, strengthened regional cooperation and integration for the benefit of the people of the Pacific and his role in enhancing the international standing of the Forum.

"Leaders noted that Mr Urwin was a strong advocate for the Pacific and his passing represented a great loss. His significant service to the Pacific Islands Forum will be remembered by all who had the privilege of working with him."

The Forum Leaders also appointed Mr Tuiloma Neroni Slade from Samoa as the new Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat for a three-year term.