Climate change, transnational crimes, and geopolitical tensions are at the forefront of the Pacific Regional and National Security Conference.

Over 150 diplomats and Pacific Island officials gathered in Suva to address security risks and plan for the safety of future generations.

Several Pacific Island countries are facing shared challenges and seeking collective solutions to address these issues.

Fiji’s Ministry of Home Affairs Security Division Manager Alipate Naulivou emphasises the need for Pacific islands to unite against common threats.

“We must hold onto whatever agreements we as Pacific Islanders have made, as these values are deeply rooted in our identity. We are all connected by the ocean and our shared culture, and the challenges faced by one Pacific Island affect us all. We are only as strong as our weakest link.”

Roline Tekon from Vanuatu’s National Security Council Secretariat highlighted her country’s challenges.

“Vanuatu’s greatest threats, as also recognised by the forum, include climate change and human security issues, particularly Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), which currently pose the greatest threat to Vanuatu’s population. Progress in these areas requires us to advance in the Pacific way.”

Director of the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) Dr Manu Tupou Roosen expresses optimism about collaborative resolutions during the conference.

“Not in working alone, but certainly in working closely between members, between partners. It is that solidarity that has ensured the success of the largest and healthiest tuna stocks in the world.”

The Pacific Regional and National Security Conference will conclude on Wednesday.