New Assistant Defence Minister and Minister for International Development and the Pacific Alex Hawke has travelled to Tuvalu to represent Australia at the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, prior to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s arrival in Tuvalu for the Forum Leaders’ Retreat on 15 August.
The Pacific Islands Forum plays a critical role in driving regional cooperation to support a resilient, secure and prosperous Pacific. Minister Hawke said he looks forward to discussions with leaders from across the region on the forum theme, “Secure our Future in the Pacific”.
Minister Hawke said, “Australia is committed to working closely with our partners to support the region’s priorities as we step up our engagement with the region. We are working hard on the implementation of the Boe Declaration on Regional Security adopted at last year’s forum."
Minister Hawke congratulated the incoming chair of the forum, Tuvalu, on its hosting of this important regional meeting.
“By hosting the meeting, Tuvalu has generated a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the unique needs and development priorities of atoll states,” Minister Hawke said.
Australia is providing a range of support to the Pacific Islands Forum, with the Australian Defence Force providing air transport to support the leaders.
Minister Hawke added, “At the request of the Tuvalu government, Australia is pleased to provide technical and logistics assistance to the 50th Pacific Islands Forum, including Australian Defence Force air transport to supplement the limited commercial air services available to bring delegates and essential supplies to and from Funafuti.”
The Pacific Islands Forum is the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation. Founded in 1971, it comprises 18 members: Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The forum’s Pacific vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy and productive lives.
The Pacific Islands Forum works to achieve this by fostering cooperation between governments, collaboration with international agencies, and by representing the interests of its members.
Since 1989, the forum has organised an annual meeting with key dialogue partners at ministerial level. The forum currently recognises 18 dialogue partners: Canada, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.