Joint Declaration on the Occasion of the
Japan-South Pacific Forum Summit Meeting

Heads of States and Governments and representatives of Japan and South Pacific Forum members (Australia, the 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) , in recognition of the strong bonds of friendship and shared interest between Japan and the Pacific region, met in Tokyo on 13 October 1997 to participate in the Japan-South Pacific Forum Summit Meeting (the Summit). The Leaders renewed their commitment to work in partnership towards the sustainable development and economic and social well-being of Forum Island Countries (FICs), and unanimously declared as follows:

1. Japan and the South Pacific Forum members, all located in the Pacific region, recognise that their development is mutually supportive as it is with the Asia Pacific region as a whole. In noting the rapid economic growth in Asia, the Summit stressed that the development of the Asia Pacific region should also result in the development of the Pacific Island countries, thus ensuring stable and sustainable development for the Asia Pacific region as a whole. In this regard, the Summit called on the international community to remain actively committed to this region.

2. The Summit noted the commitment by FICs to economic policy and public sector reforms aimed at promoting sustainable development and a closer integration to the world economy. The Summit also recognised the increasing trend towards world trade liberalisation and globalisation and the real dangers of marginalisation facing the FICs and thus emphasised the importance of addressing the problem of marginalisation under the multilateral trading system. In supporting the process of economic reform by the region in response to these international developments, in particular, outcomes of the recent Rarotonga South Pacific Forum, Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, and regional initiatives within APEC as well as developments in WTO, the Summit called on the international community and, especially, development partners to the Pacific region to also acknowledge and support these efforts.

3. The Summit recognised the crucial importance of fisheries to the economic security of the Pacific region and confirmed its intention to fully cooperate in establishing measures to ensure the effective conservation and management of the highly migratory fish stocks in the Western and Central Pacific on a sustainable basis and the implementation of the provisions of the Majuro Declaration of the Second Multilateral High-Level Conference held in June 1997.

4. The Summit, in recognising that private sector development is vital to the future development of FICs, highly commended the Japanese Government's initiative to establish, in conjunction with the South Pacific Forum Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Centre in Tokyo last year. The Summit reaffirmed its commitment to ensure the effective operation of the Pacific Islands Centre, called on the Japanese business community to cooperate with the Centre in the promotion of trade, investment and tourism between Japan and the FICs, and requested Japan to support the Centre for holding a trade fair and an investment seminar next year in Tokyo as a follow-up to the Summit.

5. The Summit recognised the value of close cooperation and reconfirmed that Japan and the South Pacific Forum members would continue to work together in the United Nations and other international fora in the development and environment areas, and those other areas that have a direct bearing on the Pacific region. In this context, it also recognised that a "new development strategy" based on genuine partnership between developed and developing countries, is particularly necessary, and ways of promoting and realising this strategy should be explored. The Summit confirmed its continued commitment to the early achievement of United Nations reforms, in particular, to the early endorsement of the U.N. Secretary-General's recently announced reform package. The Summit also confirmed its strong support for reform to the United Nations financial situation and to the Security Council, and the importance of realising these reforms in a balanced manner.

6. The Summit affirmed its commitment to the principles of sustainable development and recognised the importance of global environment issues, in particular, climate change and sea level rise, issues that are of particular concern to FICs. In this regard, the Summit acknowledged the importance of the work done by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. The Summit welcomed the Forum Leaders' Retreat Statement on Climate Change issued on 19 September 1997 and noted the Forum's continuing concerns over the shipment of plutonium and high level waste through the Pacific region. It welcomed the Government of Japan's sincere efforts in dealing with these issues of FICs concerns and confirmed its willingness to work cooperatively . The Summit wished it every success in the convening of the Third Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Kyoto in December. Related to this, the Summit acknowledged the importance of work currently being undertaken in several international fora including the United Nations to develop an index of vulnerability and urged that the special circumstances of FICs be incorporated in this process.

7. The FIC Leaders expressed their appreciation to the Government of Japan for its financial contribution to the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research (PICHTR) in Hawaii, earmarked for the development of renewable power systems specifically designed for remote villages in the FICs, with a view to developing energy systems appropriate to the marine and tropical environment of the region, and the management training programme arranged for FICs' government and private sector personnel. The Summit called on the PICHTR to continue its research and other activities which will help to advance sustainable development in the region.

8. The Summit acknowledged the importance of reinforcing person-to-person communication and exchanges in business, education, tourism, and cultural activities. In particular, the Summit attached importance to exchanges amongst its youth, the driving force for future generations. In this regard, the Summit warmly welcomed the commitment by Japan to make the utmost effort to enhance the students' exchange between FICs and Japan in the years to come.

9. The Summit acknowledged the important role played by regional organisations in the Pacific, in particular, members of the South Pacific Organisations Coordinating Committee(SPOCC), in assisting FIC's efforts towards achieving broad based economic reforms and sustainable development and the need for appropriate support for these organisations. The Summit warmly welcomed and called on the continuing support of development partners to regional organisations in the region and highly appreciated the continued commitment by Australia, Japan and New Zealand in this respect, in particular, their commitment to the improvement of distance education facilities in the Pacific region, and their willingness to provide resources to this end.

10. The FIC Leaders expressed their appreciation to Japan for the economic cooperation extended to the region which has contributed significantly to their development efforts and to regional stability, and urged Japan to continue its development support to the region. The South Pacific Forum Leaders also expressed their appreciation to the Government and people of Japan for the arrangements for the Summit and for the generous hospitality extended to them during their stay in Tokyo.

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