26 Aug 2013

Marshall Islands hurries to prepare for Pacific Islands Forum

7:47 am on 26 August 2013

A week before the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands, Majuro residents have rallied to beautify the capital atoll.

Over 300 people from the Pacific islands, Australia and New Zealand, as well as representatives from over a dozen donor nations, and a large contingent of media are expected to start arriving on the weekend for the summit to be held next week.

Tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of people hours are going into painting buildings, pruning shrubbery, and cleaning streets.

The Foreign Minister Phillip Muller says he is proud of people's efforts in the massive clean up.

Local residents are building about a dozen thatched roof huts that are being deployed throughout a park where visiting dignitaries will arrive for welcome before the start of the ceremony that launches the four-day Forum.

This is the 44th annual summit, and Pacific heads of state are meeting on the theme, "Marshalling a Pacific response to climate change."

The only other time Majuro has hosted a Forum was in 1996, nine years after it became a member of the regional body.