PRESS RELEASE - 4th September 2011 - The media has a very important role to play at the annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' meetings.

Speaking at the Pacific Islands News Association/Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Forum Regional Media Workshop in Auckland, New Zealand today, Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said: "The presence of the media from the Pacific island countries at these Forum Leaders' meetings is important as the Leaders are answerable to their constituencies."

"Your role as the media I believe is to disseminate the Leaders' decisions to the communities in the region in an informed manner taking in consideration to the accuracy of your reports. You have a very important responsibility," said Mr Slade

"That is why the Secretariat sees its presence here at this workshop a priority in order to help you understand some of the issues that our Leaders will be making decisions on," Mr Slade said

The two-day workshop is attended by about 20 journalists from media organizations from the Pacific island countries as well as participants from the Pacific media in New Zealand and students from the Auckland University of Technology. It was opened by the New Zealand Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Mr Chris Seed.

The workshop is funded by the New Zealand government and gives the opportunity to journalists from the region to be briefed on issues to be discussed at the upcoming 42nd Pacific Islands Forum which will be held in Auckland 6 - 9 September.

In his briefing to the workshop participants, Forum Secretary General, Mr Slade said among issues to be discussed at this year's Leaders' Forum will be the Pacific Plan Annual Progress Report 2011 highlighting a number of achievements over the past 12 months.

The achievements include fisheries sector maritime surveillance activities, the establishment of the CROP Executive Sub-committee on climate change, completion of a major study on options to improve access to and management of climate change financing, completion of peer reviews in Vanuatu, Niue and Tuvalu as part of the Forum Compact on Strengthening Development.

Other issues for Leaders' consideration will be two reports on the Forum Compact implementation. This includes the 2011 Tracking the Effectiveness of Development Efforts in the Pacific Report and the 2011 Pacific Regional Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Tracking Report.

Leaders will also consider several regional initiatives in the areas of health, youth, gender and the Oceanscape initiative.
Among the Regional Security issues to be discussed by Leaders would be the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, the situation in Fiji, Youth Initiatives, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Unexploded Ordnance.