Forum Economic Ministers Meet in Honiara this week


Economic Ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum will gather for the 18th Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) and associated meetings in Honiara, Solomon Islands from 8-11 July.<!--more-->

The integrated development of the tourism sector and its linkages to other sectors, as supported by the Forum Leaders’ Waiheke Declaration on Sustainable Economic Development, will be a core focus of this year’s FEMM.

In line with the theme, the Ministers will consider policy options to improve linkages between the tourism and agricultural sectors, and consider developments in essential infrastructure for enhancing tourism development in the region, including aviation connectivity and ports for cruise-ships, underpinned by the regional tourism strategy.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) said, “The FEMM is a key regional meeting that considers a wide array of economic development issues relevant to the Forum Islands Countries (FICs). This year’s FEMM will deliberate on policy options to Strengthen Economic Linkages across sectors in the FICs, the core theme of the gathering.

“This year, the Private Sector Dialogue Workshop will be held in the margins of the FEMM, prior to the private sector representatives’ discussion with the Economic Ministers on key issues affecting private sector development in the region.

“Private sector representatives will be also formulating their statement for engagement with the Forum Leaders in a few weeks time in Palau. This new mechanism is expected to enhance the effectiveness of policy formulation in support of private sector engagement in the FICs.”

The Secretary General underpinned the importance of stronger collaboration between FICs, regional agencies and development partners to advance sustainable economic growth in FICs.

“A Joint Forum Economic and Pacific Health Ministers meeting will also be held to discuss the role of Economic and Health Ministers in addressing Non-Communicable Diseases, which are increasingly having direct impact on the region’s economic development,” Secretary General Slade added.

The agenda for this year’s FEMM also includes an update on the Pacific Plan review and its implications for the FEMM, the upcoming 2014 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Conference in Samoa, and the update by Australia on the G20 and its Presidency of G20 in 2013/2014. Updates on the economic empowerment of women and Forum Compact issues, including public financial management, remain standing agenda items at FEMM.

Over the past three years, Forum Economic Ministers have identified Climate change resourcing as an ongoing issue. The Ministers will consider what Finance Ministries need to do to ensure sound country-led climate change responses and building FICs’ readiness to access climate change finance.