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Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu,Honourable Kausea Natano

Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have invoked the Biketawa Declaration, to collectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as a major crisis to The Blue Pacific – its peoples, wellbeing, and economies.

As an immediate priority, Forum Foreign Ministers met virtually yesterday to establish a Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19, following two weeks of consultation with senior officials, regional agencies, and development agencies through the Forum.

The Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 (PHP-C), under the Biketawa Declaration, is the Region’s mechanism that will provide the enabling political environment and commitment to expedite assistance and cooperation between member countries in preparing for and responding to COVID-19, by enabling the provision of medical and humanitarian assistance from regional, international and development partners in a timely, safe, effective and equitable manner.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health emergency of unprecedented scale. It poses a real and extreme danger to the health and security of the Pacific peoples. Never before has the full Forum Membership simultaneously been in crisis,” said the Honourable Kausea Natano, Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum and Prime Minister of Tuvalu.

The Chair of the Special Foreign Ministers Meeting, the Honourable Simon Kofe of Tuvalu, said that responding to COVID-19 as a region reflected the Tuvaluan concept of te fale-pili, which literally means houses near one another and which implies a moral responsibility to protect neighbors. It also went to the very essence of The Blue Pacific Way, where, in times of hardship, we help each other and ourselves to get through times of distress—together.

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Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers Agree to Establish a Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID -19