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Pacific Islands Forum leaders face up to challenges of regional development

(Xinhua)

16:10, September 06, 2011

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The small island nations of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) were Tuesday issued with a stark warning on the dangers of climate change to the region's development.

The Forum Secretariat was committed to ensuring the Forum would redefine the global development cooperation agenda, Secretariat Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade said, outlining the scale of the threat at the 20th Small Island States (SIS) Leaders' Meeting.

"Climate change remains the overwhelming challenge in our development pursuits," Slade told SIS leaders on the opening day of the annual Forum in New Zealand.

Since the Copenhagen and Cancun global climate conferences, regional governments had been considering how to better manage the flow and use of the greater available resources.

The country experience was important to shape the Forum's position "as we seek to influence the outcomes and negotiations at the upcoming Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan, Korea, in November," said Slade.

Slade laid out "key priority areas" to address long term challenges of the SIS, which were not new, but required " refocusing and re-energizing of efforts with the mobilization and coordination of limited resources" in order to effectively target responses to the region's main challenges.

"The devastating impact of non-communicable diseases on lives and livelihoods of all Pacific peoples is a crisis of serious magnitude which needs to be addressed with immediacy by all governments of the region," said Slade.

The other priorities identified by Slade included stronger development coordination; education and health; transport, particularly sub-regional shipping services; trade agreements and labor mobility to enable economic integration; and renewable energy and bulk fuel procurement.


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