27/10/16- Busan, Korea: The value of mutual prosperity through ongoing cooperation and strategic partnerships between the Pacific Islands Forum and the Republic of Korea was reinforced during the 4th Korea-Pacific Islands Senior Official’s Meeting in Busan this week.
Recognizing the strong relationship that already exists, representative of the Forum Chair, Mr Samson Pretrick of the Federated States of Micronesia said in his opening statement “I would like to congratulate the Government of the Republic of Korea for its clear demonstration of commitment to our region as a Post-Forum Dialogue partner.”
The talks focused heavily on the Forum’s priority areas of climate change and disaster risk management, maritime and fisheries issues, and development cooperation.
Officials from both parties emphasized the importance of global action to address the negative impacts of climate change, and Korea was recognized by Pacific Island Countries for its active role in support of efforts to address climate change and as the host of the Secretariat to the Green Climate Fund and the headquarters for the Global Green Growth Institute.
“Korea is well placed to support the voice of small island developing states in this regard, and as a global leader on low carbon economies, and is a valued friend of the Pacific with a shared interest in ensuring sustainable futures for our peoples,” said the Forum Chair.
Korea acknowledged the recent endorsement by Forum Leaders of the “Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific”, as the instrument for advocacy and coordination to integrate climate change and disaster risk management considerations in development planning and practice outcomes in the Pacific region. Access to climate finance was addressed in the talks, with Korean Officials supportive of calls from Forum Members to expand Green Climate Fund project funding and readiness support to include more Pacific Island Countries.
Development cooperation was another topic of discussion and there was agreement that all nations needed to work together towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The newly re-opened Korean International Cooperation Agency in Fiji was cited as an example of the partnership that exists between Korea and the region, and one that is helping Pacific Island Countries face diverse development challenges in areas including health, agriculture, forestry, climate change and fisheries.
Strengthening private sector partnerships was also a point of discussion, with the Forum Chair encouraging Korea to “favorably consider support for the recommended establishment of a Pacific Trade & Invest Korea Office in 2017, as it is through such practical initiatives that we will be able to build on economic cooperation between our economies, and drive business to business, and people to people relations.”
In the last two years Forum Leaders have been focused on strengthening cooperation around maritime and fisheries issues. During the talks, Korea stressed the need to work collaboratively on current UN negotiations around biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions which is a significant issue for Pacific Island Countries at present. Also discussed were current projects to help address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity in the region. The Remote Sensing Surveillance System for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Control Activities, is a collaboration between the Korea Institute of Ocean Science & Technology and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency which it is envisaged will contribute to an expanded partnership in the ocean science and technology sector.
The 3rd Korea-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will take place in 2017. [/restrict]