26 October 2023- The 54th Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC) meeting, was convened in Koror, Palau on 25 and 26 October 2023 and attended by representatives from Vanuatu (Chair), Solomon Islands (Vice Chair), PNG (Vice Chair) Australia (Principal Donor), New Zealand (Principal Donor), Tonga (Polynesia rep), Palau (Micronesia), Fiji (Melanesia), and Tuvalu (Small Island States).

The Board meeting provided an opportunity to not only discuss pending and emerging issued affecting PIDC Members across the Pacific and how PIDC through its regional programme activities was supporting members in its 3 key strategic focus areas relating to: (i) Border Enforcement and Traveller Facilitation, (ii) National Immigration Strengthening, and (iii) Partnership and Coordination.

In opening the 54th PIDC Board meeting the PIDC Chair, Mr. Jeffrey Markson the Vanuatu Immigration Director acknowledged and thanked Palau Immigration for hosting the first of PIDC’s Board meeting for this financial reporting period in Palau in addition to challenging Board members to collectively use this important forum in supporting members and how members could continue to support each other through the PIDC family of immigration agencies””.

Some major thematic issues discussed at the Board meeting looked at border management systems, PIDC’s legislation review and modernisation programme, strategic plan development, members website development, capacity building programmes, and ongoing regional efforts at addressing transnational organised crime issues through PIDC’s information sharing network were some major thematic issues that featured prominently in the Board discussions.

The increasing level of mobility and movement of people in the Pacific and the increasing connectedness of the islands to the outside world has increased the varying levels of issues and threats that immigration agencies have to now address in the 21st century and PIDC as a regional immigration body needs to be considerate to members needs and limitations and identifying and advocating for regional solutions and approaches to managing this emerging regional and international migration issues.

“With ever increasing numbers of people travelling internationally within the region, immigration agencies face ongoing challenges. The PIDC through its Board takes a collective, pragmatic approach to these challenges, seeking regional solutions and taking small incremental steps to improve border management across the region”, Mr Akuila Ratu the Head of Secretariat said.

The PIDC is part of the regional effort to realise the objectives of the Boe Declaration and works to support its members collectively realise these regional strategic objectives. The PIDC works collaboratively with immigration agencies across the Pacific and with regional law enforcement agencies as well as other regional and global organisations on migration matters.

Representing Palau in the PIDC board meeting was Mr. Flavin Misech, Chief of the Division of Immigration and Mr. John Tarkong Jr., Director, Bureau of Customs & Border Protection. Chief Misech welcomed the board members to Palau and acknowledged the support provided by PIDC over the years. According to Director Tarkong, this was a very productive meeting and commends the board members and Secretariat for the progress and important mechanisms that they have set in place to support the ongoing work and activities being planned for the region. Through the meeting, the PIDC Secretariat expressed PIDC’s commitment along with the members in addressing and supporting regional border security related activities, on-going projects, governance, work plans, programs and policies to support the members despite many of the challenges in the region.

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