16. The FAO Sub-Regional Representative for the Pacific, Dr Vili Fuavao on behalf of the meeting expressed his great appreciation to the Government of the Cook Islands for the kind words of welcome expressed during the official opening ceremony and for the fine arrangements and organization for the meeting. He then invited nominations for the Chair of the meeting.
17. Following the nomination by the Minister from Kiribati, Honourable Martin Tofinga and seconded by the Minister from Tuvalu, Honourable Samuelu Teo, the Minister from the Cook Islands was unanimously elected as Chair.
18. In assuming the chair, the Minister from the Cook Islands expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the support and confidence placed on him as Chair of the meeting. He then suggested for the meeting to proceed with the consideration of the administrative issues as outlined in the Provisional Agenda.
19. Following an invitation from the Chair, the FAO Sub-Regional Representative introduced the proposed theme by recalling the Pacific Plan that had been approved by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to be developed, with emphasis on regional cooperation and partnership. He added that since FAO was one of several players working on agriculture in the Pacific, it was considered important that FAOs intervention and assistance in the Pacific should be based on what it could do best and by focusing on areas where it had the comparative advantage. As such, FAO in consultation with the host government had proposed Building on FAOs comparative advantage to strengthen partnerships for food security in the Pacific as the theme for the meeting.
20. The Minister from the Marshall Islands, Honourable John Silk, after thanking the Sub-Regional Representative for the introductory comment, expressed support for the proposed theme and added that it was important for FAO to focus on where it had the comparative advantage in order to maximize benefits derived by member countries from its intervention. He then recommended the adoption of the proposed theme.
21. The Minister from Niue, Honourable Bill Motufoou supported the recommendation by the Minister from Marshall Islands. The meeting subsequently adopted the theme.
22. The Chair referred Ministers to the Provisional Agenda for the meeting as outlined in paper SWPM/CKI/2.3(Rev1) and invited FAO to provide further elaboration on this item. In response, the Sub-Regional Representative explained that in addition to providing information on the activities and achievements during the past two years, attempts had also been made to outline in the technical papers prepared for the meeting, the comparative advantage of FAO as well as opportunities for collaboration with other development partners, in line with the overall thrust of the theme.
23. He then referred the meeting to Agenda Item 6 and explained that it was a common practice at past meetings to identify an emerging issue of importance to the region and to invite an expert to provide a briefing on the issue after the substantive agenda items had all been addressed by the meeting. As such, an officer from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok had been invited to talk on the Avian Influenza pandemic. He also pointed out that Agenda Item 7 (Other Business) provided countries with the opportunity to raise other issues not already covered on the agenda.
24. The meeting approved the Agenda as presented with the understanding, based on a request from FAO, that the Director-General would be welcome to address the meeting regarding the proposed expansion to the existing Regional Programme for Food Security, whenever he was available. The approved Agenda is provided as Annex D.
25. Following an invitation from the Chair, the Sub-Regional Representative referred Ministers to paper SWPM/CKI/2.4 which outlined the proposed timetable and working procedures for the meeting and explained that the working procedures had been proposed to facilitate the smooth and orderly conduct of the meeting. In regards to Agenda Item 8, he advised that as in past meetings, the Secretariat will prepare a draft Communiqué highlighting the main outcomes and decisions of the meeting and this would be circulated at the earliest opportunity to allow time for Ministers to peruse the draft and provide comment and input before it was finalized for signing before the closure of the meeting. He added that a full report of the meeting will also be prepared and will be circulated for comments before it was finalized for printing.
26. After further consideration, the meeting adopted the meeting programme and working procedures as outlined in meeting paper SPWM/CKI/2.4.