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Pacific Leaders Address Key Regional Issues at 12th Leaders Conference

HONOLULU (Sept. 16, 2022) – The 12th Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders (PICL), titled Puʻuhonua: The Pacific Way Forward, featured a robust three-day schedule of dialogues, plenary sessions, meetings, and side events.

Convened by the PICL’s Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP) at the East-West Center, the conference program reflected the key regional priorities identified by Pacific leaders at their last summit, which was held virtually last year.

Heads of government and ministers representing 16 Pacific countries and territories engaged in a series of closed meetings to deliberate on a range of issues including:

  • Climate change impacts, action, and financing,
  • COVID-19 pandemic recovery,
  • Industry diversification,
  • The “2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent” endorsed by Pacific Island Forum leaders,
  • United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and China in the Pacific,
  • Nuclear-contaminated Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treated water disposal,
  • On-going nuclear legacies,
  • The Pacific Women Leaders Coalition.

A series of sessions over the course of the conference created space for Pacific leaders to dialogue with non-PICL member countries including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

In addition to closed dialogue sessions with international partners, Pacific leaders also dialogued with leading experts in sessions focused on industry diversification and contemporary geopolitics in the context of China in the Pacific.

With an emphasis on climate change, industry diversification, and on-going COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery, the conference welcomed several side events offered by public sector, non-profit, academic, and other professional organizations featuring the latest innovations, research, and work to advance regional priorities.

As a member of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), PIDP convened the CROP Women of the Wave Network as part of the PICL activities. The network brings together women working across the nine CROP agencies to share perspectives and strategize pathways toward empowering women and girls to assume leadership roles within CROP and other professional spaces.

Leader Delegations
The following leaders (or their designees) and accompanying delegations from Pacific countries and territories attended the 12th PICL:

  • Honorable Lemanu Palepoi Sialegā Mauga – Governor, American Samoa (virtual participation)
  • Honorable Tepaeru Kiteitekata Herrmann – Special Envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum, Cook Islands
  • Honorable Kandhi A. Elieisar – Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Honorable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya – Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport, Republic of Fiji
  • Honorable Heremoana Maamaatuaiahutapu – Minister for Culture, Environment and Marine Resources, French Polynesia
  • Honorable Josh Tenorio – Lieutenant Governor, Guam
  • Honorable David Ige – Governor, Hawaiʻi
  • His Excellency David Kabua – President, Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Honorable Chitra Jeremiah – Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Republic of Nauru
  • Honorable Dalton Emani Makamau Tagelagi – Premier, Niuē
  • Honorable David Atalig – Secretary of Finance, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • His Excellency Surangel S. Whipps, Jr. – President, Republic of Palau
  • Honorable Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa – Prime Minister, Sāmoa
  • Honorable Jeremiah Manele – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Solomon Islands
  • Honorable Huʻakavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni – Prime Minister, Kingdom of Tonga
  • Honorable Kausea Natano – Prime Minister, Tuvalu