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Pacific Islands Forum foreign ministers stress collective diplomacy for stronger region

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Foreign ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) underlined on Friday their commitment to collective diplomacy and enhanced action for regional security arrangements to build a stronger region for Pacific people.

According to a statement released by PIFS in the Samoa capital of Apia, PIF members engaged in wide ranging discussions centered around how the region can operate together to promote the security and development of the Blue Pacific region.

"I see the Blue Pacific as a powerful narrative to call us together, drawing on our shared ocean identity, ocean geography, and ocean resources. It serves to empower us -- reminding us of the value and potential of our region, encouraging us to think and act from a position of strength," said Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, prime minster of Samoa and Pacific Islands Forum Chair as he opened the meeting.

Recognizing the theme for this year's PIF in Nauru in September: "Building a Strong Pacific - Our People, Our Islands, Our Will," PIF foreign Ministers said that it provided another opportunity to further fortify the region's collective will to pursue its own political and development ambitions.

The foreign ministers agreed that events like the upcoming 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) provide strategic opportunities for a unified and amplified "Pacific Voice" that calls for ambitious action to achieve the measures called for in the Paris Agreement.

To strengthen strategic international advocacy and engagement in future, a Strategy for Pacific Islands Forum Engagement and Advocacy was endorsed.

To develop a new regional security declaration to address emerging security issues, foreign ministers this year reviewed a draft declaration and have recommended that it now be forwarded to Forum Leaders for consideration at their meeting in Nauru.

While discussing the importance of securing maritime boundaries for the development and security of the region, foreign ministers also agreed to work together, as a matter of urgency to assess and address the legal and technical implications of climate change and sea-level rise on their maritime zones.

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