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47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting Starts Wednesday

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia-- Starting tomorrow, The Federated States of Micronesia will host the 47th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting here.

In Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia . Photo courtesy of Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

FSM Vice President Yosiwo George, in his keynote address during the first day of the jointly-sponsored Pacific Island News Association (PINA) and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) media workshop, stated that this year’s theme is “Small and Far: Challenges For Growth.”

“Due to inherent geographic location, distance, and smallness, Forum countries will continue to face challenges and barriers in areas of transportation, economic growth and development, foreign investment, and other areas of mutual interests of importance to member countries of the Forum,” he said

“This will require planning, collaborative engagement, and using available resources and technologies to overcome these challenges and barriers,” George added.

The other meetings scheduled to take place during the week of the Forum are The Smaller Islands States Leaders’ meeting and The Asian Caribbean Pacific Leaders’ Meeting.

The opening ceremony , where a cultural show is displayed for the dignitaries by the host country is scheduled on Sept. 8 at 4 p.m.

Issues on the agenda are the West Papua situation. In last year’s forum, leaders reiterated the importance of upholding human rights across the region and also the need for continued engagement with Indonesia on the West Papua issue.

On the PACER Plus trade agreement, leaders supports the PACER Plus negotiations as an instrument for promoting regional integration in the Pacific and assist Forum Island Countries to achieve robust economic growth and sustainable development.

The leaders will also assess French Polynesia's application for full membership in the forum.

The leaders are again tackling issues on fisheries, climate change and disaster risk management.

The 16 member countries of the Pacific Island Forum include: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

All Heads of State of the member nations are expected to attend the meeting, with a few exceptions. Palau Minister of State Billy Kuartei will represent President Tommy Remengesau Jr, while the Heads of State for Fiji and Kiribati will also send representatives.

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