Specials Environment

A Programme for Sustainable Development in the South Pacific

Posted June 1996

Inaugural Meeting of South West Pacific Ministers for Agriculture

Apia, Western Samoa
13 May 1996

Agriculture Ministers from the South West Pacific Region present for the FAO Regional Conference met today in Apia, Western Samoa. This was the first time that such a regional meeting had taken place.

Ministers present included from Samoa, Misa Telefoni Retzlaff; from Tonga, Baron Vaea; from Cook Islands, Vaine Tairea; from New Zealand, John Falloon (Minister for Forestry, Representing the Minister for Agriculture Lockwood Smith), from Papua New Guinea, David Mai; from Vanuatu, Vincent Boulekone, and from Australia Senator David Brownhill (Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Agriculture John Anderson).

The meeting was opened by the Director-General of FAO, Dr. Jacques Diouf. Ministers thanked him for his presence and opening comments. Misa Telefoni Retzlaff was unanimously elected Chairman of the meeting.

Ministers agreed that the opening of the FAO Subregional Office in Apia today symbolized the increasing cooperation among regional nations on agriculture, fishing and forestry issues. Ministers expected that the new office would significantly contribute to increased regional cooperation.

All ministers identified specific areas where increased cooperation was likely to produce mutual benefits. These areas included:

Ministers noted that an example of recent cooperation was last week's Technical Consultation of South Pacific Small Island Developing States on Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Ministers also noted the brief on the outcome of the Consultation.

Ministers agreed that today's meeting had been constructive and useful. Ministers considered that it would be productive to hold further such meetings in future and that an annual meeting would be a possible objective. Ministers noted that meetings could be held in conjunction with FAO Regional Conferences or other relevant international conferences.

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