PALM 5: ISLANDERS' HOKKAIDO DECLARATION
Hokkaido, Japan, 22-23 May 2009
- The Leaders of Japan and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) countries met for the Fifth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) (hereinafter referred to as "PALM 5") from 22 to 23 May 2009 in Hokkaido, Japan. The Leaders and representatives of Japan, 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 were in attendance. The Meeting was co-chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan, H.E. Taro Aso, and the Chair of the PIF and Premier of Niue, the Hon Toke Tufukia Talagi.
- The PIF Leaders expressed their appreciation to the Prime Minister, the Government and the people of Japan for its excellent arrangements in hosting PALM 5, and for the courtesies extended to them during their stay. The PIF Leaders also expressed their gratitude to the Governor of Hokkaido Prefecture and the people of Hokkaido for their warm hospitality and generosity as hosts of PALM 5.
- Reflecting their common heritage as island nations and a shared responsibility for the protection of the Pacific Ocean, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF expressed a mutual commitment to face future challenges to the region in the spirit of equal partnership and adopted the theme for PALM 5 of "We are islanders - Towards an Eco-friendly and Rich Pacific".
- Based on a long-standing close cooperation in the regional and international arena, strengthened and developed by the efforts of both sides, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF found the relationship to be stronger than ever, underpinned by historical ties, economic and resource linkages and close people-to-people exchanges. Both sides also expressed continuing commitment to strongly supporting, as appropriate, each others' key international and regional foreign policy priorities to ensure future cooperation, both regional and international, remains conducive to maintaining close, constructive and mutually beneficial relations.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF also expressed their collective determination to further enhance this special partnership in order to achieve a more robust, resilient, prosperous Pacific region with a commitment to pursuing viable and practical approaches to address the significant challenges facing the peoples of the Pacific. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF acknowledged that such challenges, particularly those posed by environmental degradation and climate change, along with other vulnerabilities affecting Pacific island countries, in particular the Smaller Island States, required urgent attention. Both sides reaffirmed that immediate efforts, along with effective medium to long-term responses, based on best available science, were required to ensure sustainable development in the face of this most pressing of global issues.
- The PIF Leaders expressed their deep appreciation for Japan's continued commitment and support to the PIF and its members since PALM 1 was held in 1997, and over the intervening years. In particular, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF noted with satisfaction the achievements of the Okinawa Partnership adopted at PALM 4 in 2006, and welcomed the fact that the assistance plan had been successfully implemented.
- The PIF Leaders reiterated their collective commitment to the Pacific Plan which was adopted at the Forum Leaders' meeting in PNG in October 2005 and its primary objectives to enhance and stimulate economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security for Pacific island countries, paying particular attention to the special needs and vulnerabilities of Smaller Island States. The leader of Japan confirmed the Pacific Plan continues to provide an effective framework and useful reference for Japan to support demand-driven priorities and locally-owned policies and institutions in coordination with, and complementary to, other development partners. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF noted that the principles and priority targets of activities carried out under PALM process and the strategic objectives of the Pacific Plan continue to be consistent.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF reiterated their call for the international community to enhance their partnerships with the Pacific region in line with the framework of the Pacific Plan. The PIF Leaders expressed their view that future assistance provided by development partners should be conducive to ensuring economic growth, sustainable development, good governance and security in the region. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF also acknowledged the importance of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action. Both sides also acknowledged the Pacific's own response expressed in the Pacific Principles on Aid Effectiveness adopted in Palau in July 2007.
- The Leaders of Australia, Japan and New Zealand, as major donors to the Pacific region, expressed their commitment to enhance dialogue on development coordination, particularly in relation to environment management and climate change, disaster risk management and response, education, health and private sector development, with the aim of strengthening development effectiveness in the Pacific region, consistent with national / regional priorities and needs.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF, as equal partners, expressed their ongoing determination to deepen relations through jointly pursuing the shared objectives of ensuring a secure, resilient, more prosperous Pacific region, including through a range of specific initiatives outlined below. To this end, the Leader of Japan committed to provide assistance to the extent of 50 billion yen to Pacific island countries over the next three years. The Leaders of the PIF welcomed Japan's assistance.
Environment and Climate Change: Protecting our Ocean and Islands
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF highlighted the importance of sharing a forward-looking and ambitious vision to ensure the protection of the oceans and islands of the Pacific region. While fully accepting and respecting the sovereignty of all nations involved, both sides acknowledged that the Pacific regions' natural resources represented a common asset which has long enriched and enhanced the lives of their peoples. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF reiterated their commitment to working together to ensure that the region's development occurs in an environmentally-friendly manner, through the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of all Pacific island citizens.
- The PIF Leaders recalled their 2005 Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change which establishes an integrated, programmatic approach to addressing the interlinked causes and effects of climate change-related impacts in the region.
- The PIF Leaders also highlighted the Declaration on Climate Change adopted at the Forum meeting in Niue in 2008, which expressed deep concern by Leaders at the serious current impacts of and growing threat posed by climate change to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being and security of Pacific island countries. The Niue Declaration also noted that current and anticipated changes in the Pacific climate, coupled with the region's vulnerability, particularly the low-lying atoll States, are expected to exacerbate existing challenges and lead to significant impacts on Pacific island countries' environments, their sustainable development and future survival.
- The Leader of Japan acknowledged these regional responses and committed, through the initiative of the Pacific Environment Community (PEC), to working closely with PIF partners through technical and financial support in the ongoing development and implementation of practical, Pacific-tailored approaches to combating climate change including responses addressing adaptation, mitigation and if necessary, relocation in accordance with the Niue Declaration, and in addressing other environmental issues.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF acknowledged the need to build human resources, technological capabilities and capacity, and develop and transfer appropriate technology in Pacific island countries in addressing environmental issues including climate change. In this regard, the Leader of Japan committed to provide assistance for human resources development of 1,500 individuals to share Japan's knowledge in the area of environment including climate change. The Leaders of the PIF welcomed Japan's assistance to address this common regional issue.
- The Leaders of the PIF welcomed Japan's contribution to the PIF under the PEC to be utilized to address environmental issues including climate change of common regional concern. Full details of the PEC, its role and objectives, are contained in Annex 1 attached to this declaration.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF also highlighted the importance of cooperating in appropriate international fora, in particular the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, towards the establishment of a fair and effective framework beyond 2012 in which all major economies would participate in a responsible manner. Recognizing that deep cuts in global emissions will be required to achieve the ultimate objective of the Convention and emphasizing the urgency to address climate change, both sides underlined the need to achieve both emissions reductions and economic growth in accordance with the provisions and principles of the Convention, including the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, and taking into account social and economic conditions and other relevant factors.
- The PIF Leaders supported Japan's Cool Earth Promotion Programme and welcomed its financial and technical assistance as a contribution to practically supporting Pacific island countries and regional agencies to address the impacts of climate change in Pacific island countries.
Overcoming Vulnerabilities and Promoting Human Security
- Accepting that addressing the many economic and social challenges facing the region remains critical to the region's future, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF confirmed their mutual commitment to cooperate closely to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015. The PIF Leaders noted that the Pacific region had to date shown mixed results against the MDGs and, as expressed in their 2008 Niue Communique, reiterated their collective commitment to redouble their efforts to make faster progress towards their achievement. In this context, the Leader of Japan also committed to provide assistance for human resource development of 2,000 individuals to assist Pacific island countries to attain MDGs and overcome economic vulnerabilities . The Leaders of the PIF welcomed Japan's assistance to be utilized to overcome and tackle vulnerabilities facing Pacific island countries as well as to achieve MDGs-related challenges as specified in Annex 2 (PDF) attached to this Declaration.
- In the context of addressing the unique challenges facing Pacific island countries, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF underlined the importance of promoting human security, with a particular focus on capacity building to ensure greater access to health, education and clean water supplies and bolster food security. The PIF Leaders also stressed the importance of infrastructure development and maintenance to facilitate the delivery of social services, noting infrastructure was also vital in establishing the foundation for productive industries and commercial activities, recognizing the particular needs of Smaller Island States.
- Responding to a call by the PIF Leaders to contribute to the development of sustainable economies in the region, the Leader of Japan committed to assisting Pacific island countries grow key sectors of their economies with a particular focus on supporting development of agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors and improving transport and telecommunications infrastructure. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF also noted the importance of this cooperation in addressing key food security challenges for the region.
- Mindful of the potential serious impacts on small, vulnerable Pacific economies of the current global financial crisis, the Leader of Japan committed to consider measures aimed at supporting Pacific island countries in alleviating the adverse effects of the economic crisis and assisting these countries in analyzing and responding to the impacts of the global downturn, including ways of addressing the particular vulnerability of Smaller Island States.
Enhancing people-to-people exchange - The "Kizuna" Plan
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF underlined the importance of promoting people-to-people exchange to build closer relations between Japan and Pacific island countries. In this context, the Leaders of the PIF welcomed Japan's Kizuna plan as described in Annex 2 (PDF).
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF reaffirmed the importance of addressing the region's priority to maximize and secure the long-term flow of benefits from conservation efforts and sustainable management of the region's fisheries resources in accordance with the precautionary approach and existing international commitments. Underlining the vital importance of the marine living resources of the Pacific Ocean, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF committed to further strengthen both bilateral and multilateral cooperation for the effective conservation and management of these economically vital resources.
- Reflecting the current scientific fisheries stock assessment that the sustainability of some of the major tuna fisheries stocks in the region continue to be at risk, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF also reiterated the importance of developing, implementing and complying with comprehensive fisheries conservation and management measures to ensure sustainable stock levels in their coastal and exclusive economic zones and on the high seas in cooperation with the assistance of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and under the framework of Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF supported ongoing efforts towards the development of robust monitoring, control and surveillance regimes, the sustainable and effective management of fisheries based on best available scientific advice, and the sustainable development of aquaculture for future food security, noting the need to evaluate the impact of climate change on the region's fisheries resources, in particular tuna resources.
- The PIF Leaders welcomed fisheries-related development cooperation provided by Japan as a contribution to the development and improvement of effectively managed and sustainable national tuna industries based on national priorities and needs in order to improve the livelihoods of the people of Pacific island countries.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF supported the ongoing efforts by Japan and FFA Members, particularly the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), to respect and enhance mutual interests for fishing and for development of the tuna fishing industries in the region, in conformity with the WCPFC and other relevant arrangements, including efforts to promote local processing of the tuna resources.
Trade and Investment
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF recognized the valuable role played by the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) in promoting trade, investment and tourism between Japan and Pacific island countries. Both sides committed to further strengthen the important work of the PIC, welcoming its relocation to a prominent and permanent shop-front position at Meiji University.
- The Leader of Japan committed to supporting the development and strengthening of the productive capacity of Pacific island countries, including the development of the private sector and supporting infrastructure and services such as information and telecommunications, shipping and aviation, and infrastructure for development. The Leader of Japan further expressed the intention to give due consideration to the particular needs and challenges of Smaller Island States.
- The Leaders of Japan and the PIF stressed the vital importance of the services sector, particularly tourism to Pacific islands economies and committed to explore ways to reinvigorate tourism to the region, noting the recent economic downturn was affecting the tourism sector globally.
Japan's support for Peace and Security in the Pacific region
- The Leaders of the PIF warmly welcomed Japan's strong interest in contributing to bolstering peace and security in the Pacific region, acknowledging Japan's prominent role in peace and security efforts across the Asia-Pacific and, globally, at the United Nations. The Leaders of Japan and the PIF remain committed to enhancing Japan's support for peace and security in the region in ways which are complementary to regional peace and security activities carried out under existing regional mechanisms such as the Biketawa Declaration.
PALM 5 Follow-Up Mechanisms
- Aware of the importance of ensuring practical and mutually beneficial activities resulting from PALM 5, the Leaders of Japan and the PIF decided to hold a high-level interim meeting during 2010 to follow-up implementation of the key PALM 5 outcomes, including enhanced cooperation to address climate change, as well as to start the preparatory process for PALM 6. The Leaders of the PIF also welcomed Japan's proposal to decide the timing and venue for the next PALM at that 2010 interim meeting.
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