Foreign affairs ministers of the PIF meet in Sydney

08 September 2015



Mrs. Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (left) and Mr. Philippe Germain, President of the Government of New-Caledonia (right); Sydney, Australia.

On the 9th and 10th July, 2015, Mr. Philippe Germain, President of the Government of New Caledonia, also responsible for foreign relations, attended the Forum Foreign Affairs Ministers’ meeting held by the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Sydney on Australia’s initiative. It brought together 18 delegations, including one from the Fiji Islands, even though they were suspended from the organisation.

Two topics were addressed at this summit: the strengthening of the national capacity of states and territories for resilience and resistance to climate phenomena ‑ which will bring about better management of natural disasters ‑ and the optimisation of the partnership between PIF countries and their partners.

As an associate member of the PIF, New Caledonia was only invited to participate in the first item on the agenda: natural disaster management. On this matter, the representatives committed to developing and boosting regional assistance in order to strengthen the ability of Pacific countries to manage natural hazards on their own.

During the meeting, the work accomplished developing the Strategy for Climate and Disaster Resilient Development in the Pacific (SRDP) was commended. However, efforts regarding planning and prevention are expected. In the very short term, the implementing of an Oceania-based network of experts able to support states and territories is advised. Among others, these decisions aim to boost the collaboration with the private sector.

Lastly, the attending members encouraged the development partners to provide accessible and flexible funding, while respecting the leadership of the affected territories and the pre-eminence of regional organisations (SPC and SPREP).

Regarding the meeting’s second matter, the representatives reasserted their willingness to consolidate post-forum discussions and agreed upon dedicating this major meeting to regional priorities.

It was agreed that, starting in 2016, as part of the preparation for the Leaders’ Annual Summit and following the annual meeting of PIF Senior Officials, ministers would meet once a year to clarify the international stance of the organisation. The leaders were advised to participate more actively in international summits (including the General Assembly of the UN) in order to increase their visibility and more effectively defend the Forum’s stances.

Two months before the next PIF summit and in response to the invitation extended by Australia, the presence of the President of the Government demonstrated New Caledonia’s strong commitment to progress towards attainment of full PIF membership. The matter of this application was discussed by Mrs. Julie Bishop, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Germain, President of the Government of New Caledonia.