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Media plays important role at Pacific Islands Forum summit

(Xinhua)

08:51, September 05, 2011

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- The media has a very important role to play at the annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders ' meetings in New Zealand's largest city of Auckland, Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat said on Monday.

"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," Tuiloma Neroni Slade said at the Pacific Islands News Association/Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Forum Regional Media Workshop.

"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 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," Slade said.

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

The workshop gives the opportunity to journalists from the region to be briefed on issues to be discussed at the upcoming 42nd Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland on Sept. 6-9.

In his briefing to the workshop participants, 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, 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 are the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, the situation in Fiji, Youth Initiatives, Sexual and Gender Based Violence and Unexploded Ordnance.

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