by Sian Rolls
Ahead of the 48th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting, to be held from the 4th to the 8th of September, a Pacific Peacebuilding Network coordinated by femLINKpacific says progressing a human security agenda must be gender inclusive. According to the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) Pacific, Pacific Forum Leaders must ensure any implementation of recommendations from Foreign Ministers must draw on the recommendations of the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (2012 - 2015):
“As a regional peacebuilding network committed to progressing a gender inclusive conflict prevention and human security agenda, including through our regional Women’s Weather Watch strategy, we look forward to continued collaboration with the Pacific Islands Forum in progressing these outcomes,” said Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Executive Producer-Director of femLINKpacific and the Chairperson of the International Board of GPPAC, referring to the adoption of outcomes of the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting (FFMM). “GPPAC Pacific particularly welcomes the recommendations on the review of the Biketawa Declaration and the support to progress the human security framework.”
However, she added, this is a time to bring civil society Peacebuilding and practice into the official processes.
“In this increasingly interconnected landscape, civil society and regional organizations can play a vital role,” explained Bhagwan Rolls. “Regional intergovernmental organizations like the Pacific Island Forum are uniquely placed to address regional peace and security issues while civil society involvement helps to bring a broad range of social and political interests to the negotiating table, making the process more inclusive and participatory.”
Key issues deliberated on by the Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting included:
- a suggested review of the Biketawa Declaration, which outlines guiding principles for good governance and courses of action for a regional response to crises in the region;
- recognising the impact that climate change and environmental degradation has, including undermining economic growth and compounding human security challenges;
- and reaffirming their commitment to collectively promoting peace and stability throughout the Pacific region.
The priority of environment security was also an outcome of our 2015 GPPAC Pacific meeting as well as being closely linked to the pillars of the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (RAP-WPS) (2012-2015):
“That plan drew on women’s civil society experiences was very progressive because identified a specific pillar on humanitarian situations including disasters as well as women's demonstrated leadership in prevention and post conflict contexts," Bhagwan Rolls continued.
 
No Nukes Now
Pacific Foreign Ministers also expressed continued support for the government and people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands in addressing the ongoing consequences of nuclear testing, with Ministers further stressing the importance of upholding the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone established under the Rarotonga Treaty and other disarmament and non-proliferation treaties.
This is timely for the region as of the 7th of July, 2017, an overwhelming majority of the world’s nations voted to adopt the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – a landmark international agreement that outlaws the ultimate weapons of mass destruction and establishes a pathway to their elimination.
"The Pacific Island states played a significant role in all the processes and voting leading to the treaty,” said anti-nuclear campaigner Vanessa Griffen. “We hope all Pacific states will become signatories as soon as possible and ratify to allow it to come into law.”
“Now that the nuclear ban treaty is open for signing, I hope that Forum Leaders will also amplify this as a welcome progress of the commitments of the Treaty of Rarotonga,” added Bhagwan Rolls.
The FFMM, held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji, on 11 August 2017, was chaired by the Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa.