(Rev Dr. Kitiona Tausi)
The Prime Minister of Tuvalu is looking forward to Tuvalu’s hosting of two important meetings, one to be held this year and the other one to be held next year. He said Tuvalu will be well-prepared for these meetings. The first meeting will be the meeting of Polynesian Leaders which will take place in the last week of June 2018 and the second meeting, the Pacific Forum of Leaders Meeting is expected to be held sometimes in September 2019. Hon Sopoaga said although Tuvalu is a very small country, he is quite confident that Tuvalu can do it. “There are a lot of preparations to be done and “I can see that we are on track”, said the Prime Minister.
Apart from the requirement for accommodations, works on the Queen Elizabeth II Park are progressing well as well as the construction of 9 bungalows at the Park. Tuvalu is financing all these works and hopefully some assistance could be forthcoming from our friends like the Republic of China on Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia and perhaps, Turkey and Japan and there may be others,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that among the agenda of the Polynesia Leaders Meeting will be issues on health security, energy, marine resources and the issue of protecting our land from foreign. One very important issue to be discussed is the impacts of climate change on small islands lika Tuvalu.
During this Polynesian Leaders’ Meeting, Hon Sopoaga said “I will seek the support of these Polynesian countries in the case of Tuvalu overstayers in New Zealand to have these overstayers processed their immigration papers and to be allowed to permanently reside in New Zealand”.
With the Forum of Leaders Meeting, the Prime Minister, Hon Sopoaga said ‘it is an opportunity for some Tuvaluans to learn and experience such high level meeting like this”. He said that the Forum Secretariat has agreed to finance four government officials to go to Suva, Fiji to be trained on how to organize meetings, how to attend to participants’ requirement, how to prepare papers for the meeting and also checking on participants’ accommodations, and issues relating to security.
He confirmed that these selected officers will also attend this year’s Forum of Leaders Meeting in Nauru to observe and experience the conduct of the meeting.