Fiji hosts first Archipelagic Island States Forum

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The first Archipelagic Island States Forum Secretariat (AIS Forum) Senior Officials Meeting convened Wednesday by the Fiji Government builds the momentum of innovative work in climate change adaptation and mitigation, oceans preservations and sustainable management, ocean resources.

For the first time the government representatives from 47 countries have converged in Fiji to participate in the Seventh SOM of the AIS Forum held outside of Indonesia.

The Forum was co-chaired by the Assistant Minister from the Office of Prime Minister Sakiusa Tubuna and the Deputy Minister Jodi Mahardi from Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry on Maritime Affairs and Investment.

AIS Forum also handed over scientific equipment to the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) and Pacific Community (SPC) to support the important research work on climate mitigation and adaptation.

A Joint Research Arrangement was also signed by the AIS Forum and the UNDP with the University of Fiji.

In his opening remarks, Tubuna commended the AIS Forum for its bold leadership and the extensive work it has done in its short and yet profound history.

“Committed to achieving various global objectives including the SDGs 2030, we acknowledge the forum’s extensive collaboration with various stakeholders that is community driven and people centred enhancing resilience, preparedness and responsiveness in their capacity to sustainably manage the persistent challenges of our time,” Tubuna said.

He said Fiji welcomes the AIS Forum- a platform to strengthen shared commitment towards invaluable, strategic partnership and strong leadership to effectively address climate and ocean issues.

Speaking at the occasion, Indonesia’s Deputy Coordinating Minister Mahardi said AIS Forum is pleased to partner with Fiji on issues of importance such as ocean economy.

“We remain committed to help each other through this Forum, overcoming our common challenges in the spirit of solidarity. Last year, AIS Forum cooperation received a supporting fund of US$1 million for the Forum.

“The meeting will inspire stronger commitment to develop together, continue walking side by side, and help each other on our path towards the healthy and sustainable development of our ocean livelihood, through a Declaration of Solidarity made by the Leaders of the archipelagic and island states,” Minister Mahardi said.

Resident Representative of UNDP Indonesia Norimasa Shimomura in his remarks said that AIS Forum continues to demonstrate unique values by concrete, innovative and collaborative results.

This includes the recent issuance of the Blue Bonds by Indonesia; innovative research – 50 of them – funded by the AIS Forum; and support to 100 entrepreneurs with a plan to hold the AIS Blue Business Summit in UK later this year.

The discussions at SOM-7 AIS Forum will culminate in a High Level Political Meeting will be held October, 2023. Ahead of the SOM meeting, Minister Tubuna also held bilateral meetings with Deputy Minister Jodi Mahardi.

Since its inception in 2018, AIS Forum has become a global initiative with active and credible voice of a unique group of archipelagic and island countries – representing different stages of development, from the Pacific region to Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS