Australia, Vanuatu sign Pacific Fusion Centre MOU

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The Australian Government and the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu have reached an important milestone, signing the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the long-term operation of the Pacific Fusion Centre in Port Vila.

The Fusion Centre commenced from its Port Vila location in December 2021.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator Marise Payne, said the Pacific Fusion Centre provides assessments and advice to Pacific decision-makers on the key security issues facing our region, including climate, human and resource security, environmental and cyber threats and transnational crime.

“This important milestone demonstrates Vanuatu’s and Australia’s shared commitment to working in partnership with our Pacific family to meet the security challenges impacting our region,” Minister Payne said.

Vanuatu Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marc Ati, said Vanuatu remains committed to this important regional project, as hosts of the permanent Pacific Fusion Centre.

“We acknowledge the close and growing relationship between our National Security Council, through the National Security Adviser and the Centre, as it sets out to complement and bolster national and regional security approaches,” said Minister Ati.

Senator Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific said the initiative is for the Pacific, by the Pacific and in the Pacific.

“The Fusion Centre is another demonstration of how the Pacific family is working together on practical initiatives to support our shared security,” Minister Seselja said.

The Centre is Pacific-led, governed by a Pacific Island Forum endorsed Charter, and hosts security analysts from Forum member countries. Director James Movick of Federated States of Micronesia and Associate Director, Outreach, Anna Naupa of Vanuatu are the senior leaders of the Fusion Centre.

Further analysts from Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tuvalu are expected to join the Centre in Port Vila this year. Each analyst will spend up to six months producing strategic assessments and will receive training and mentoring opportunities to enhance their skills.

The Centre is operating permanently in Port Vila after an interim Canberra-based hub provided assessments and advice from September 2019 to December 2021. The MoU between Australia and Vanuatu will underpin the delivery of the Pacific Fusion Centre’s mandate over the decades to come.

Their work will provide regional leaders with information to support their responses to security challenges in the region, in line with the 2000 Biketawa Declaration and the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security. As the response to last year’s civil unrest in Solomon Islands showed, the Pacific family is best placed to respond to regional security developments.

SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS