Chair's Summary of the PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting
16 October, 2010 Tokyo, JAPAN
- The PALM Ministerial Interim Meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan on 16th October, 2010 in order to follow up the outcomes of the Fifth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 5) as well as to prepare for PALM 6.
- The Meeting was attended by The Hon. Edward Nipake Natapei, Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), representatives from 16 PIF member countries and regions, as well as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The Meeting was chaired by H.E. Mr. Seiji Maehara, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan and was also attended by Ms. Makiko Kikuta, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan.
- The Ministers reaffirmed that Japan and Pacific island countries, both as island nations, are important partners sharing the Pacific Ocean and that their relationships are deeply underpinned by historical bonds and a wide range of areas including fisheries and tourism. The Ministers also expressed their determination to further invigorate the process of PALM including Ministerial Interim Meeting in order to further strengthen relationships.
- The Japanese side reported that Japan has already provided assistance in the area of environment, climate change and human security such as health and education amounting to approximately 32.3 billion yen out of 50 billion yen pledged at PALM 5. This includes 6.8 billion yen worth of contribution to the PIF under the Pacific Environmental Community (PEC) fund. Pacific island countries appreciated the fact that Japan's assistance has been steadily implemented.
- Pacific island countries expressed their appreciation for the assistance announced as the "Kan Commitment" at the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The Commitment includes the assistance of 5 billion US dollars in the field of health and 3.5 billion US dollars in the field of education over five years beginning in 2011. Furthermore, the Ministers agreed to cooperate in promoting the concept of human security.
- The Japanese side reviewed progress on the implementation of the PEC fund and acknowledged the efforts of the PIF Secretariat in developing the necessary procedures for implementing the fund. The Japanese side also expressed its hope for the expeditious distribution of the funds, with the establishment of the Project Management Unit. The Ministers called for further cooperation of the PIF Secretariat and the Pacific Islands Centre in distributing the fund to all PIF member countries and regions. The PIF Secretariat expressed its support and cooperation to this end.
- The Japanese side expressed its continued commitment to assisting the efforts of Pacific island countries in their endeavor toward self-sustained socio-economic development in the spirit of equal partnership. Pacific island countries expressed their appreciation for Japan's continued assistance and explained their efforts for the development of their countries and the importance of the Pacific Plan in steering regional development aspirations.
- The Ministers shared their views that firm establishment of democracy and rule of law as well as political stability are important for the development of this region. To this end, the Ministers expressed that they would pay a closest attention to the steps that Fiji was taking and planned to take. Pacific island countries also appreciated the fact that Japan dispatched election observers and made a financial contribution to the general elections held in August 2010 in Solomon Islands.
- The Ministers confirmed that the traditional economic ties between Japan and Pacific island countries with a focus on areas such as fishery and tourism have recently expanded to the area of natural resource development. The Ministers expressed their hope to further enhance economic ties between Japan and Pacific island countries. In this context, the Ministers 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 Japanese side expressed that it would reinvigorate political-level visits from Japan to Pacific island countries to further strengthen relationships. Pacific island countries welcomed Japan's efforts to this end.
- From a long-term perspective, the Japanese side underlined the importance of inviting young people from Pacific island countries to Japan in order to develop human resources who can serve as a bridge between Japan and Pacific island countries. In this connection, the Japanese side expressed that Japan would explore new ways to strengthen people- to- people exchanges towards PALM 6. This includes examining the possibility to expand eligibility for the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) to Pacific island countries. Pacific island countries welcomed such efforts by Japan.
- The Japanese side explained the progress on "Visit Pacific Forum" which was launched at PALM 5 and that Japan would explore ways to enhance people-to-people exchanges with Pacific island countries through tourism based on the proposal submitted by the Forum next March. Pacific island countries welcomed Japan's efforts to this end.
- The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of openness and stability in the Pacific Ocean for peace and prosperity of Japan and Pacific island countries and they agreed to cooperate to this end.
- In order to tackle climate change issues, the Japanese side emphasized the necessity of early adoption of a new, comprehensive legal document that establishes a fair and effective international framework in which all major economies participate. The Japanese side expressed that it would like to work closely with Pacific island countries in this regard. The Japanese side also explained that it has been steadily implementing fast-start financing, and that it will host the Aichi-Nagoya Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership co-chaired by Japan and Papua New Guinea on 26th October. Pacific island countries expressed their support for Japan's efforts in this regard, and also emphasized the necessity for further assistance to those countries which are vulnerable to the impact of climate change.
- The Japanese side highlighted the importance of the reform of the Security Council of the United Nations, which lies as one of the most important issues in the reform of global governance. In acknowledging the need for early reform of the Security Council, Pacific island countries reiterated their support for Japan's bid for permanent membership in the Council.
- The Japanese side announced that the next PALM (PALM 6) would be held in Nago, Okinawa on 25th and 26th May in 2012 and the Ministers agreed on this venue and date.
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