30 Aug 2012

Trade, security and gender issues for Pacific leaders at Forum

4:29 am on 30 August 2012

Pacific leaders will today discuss issues of regional trade, security, gender issues, and the potential within its ocean territories.

Leaders begin the plenary session of the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in Rarotonga this morning, with the theme large ocean island states.

Megan Whelan reports from Rarotonga.

"Leaders will discuss the impacts of climate change, and international funding that has yet to make its way to the region. Gender equality, and the poor representation of women in the Pacific's parliaments is on the agenda, with Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard to announce a multi-million dollar initiative, and the head of UN women, Michelle Bachelet attending the meeting. Ocean issues, including transport and fisheries will be discussed, and the Cook Islands Prime Minister, Henry Puna, says island countries need to stop thinking of themselves as tiny spots in a vast ocean. Leaders will also discuss a New Zealand funded report into the Forum secretariat, which has raised a number of problems, but the Small Islands States leaders this week called for the review to be put on hold, until after next year's review of the Pacific plan."