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 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 Biketawa Declaration recognises that in time of crises, all actions must be taken on the basis that all members of the Forum are part of the Pacific Islands extended family. This could include expediting medical assistance, expediting customs clearance of medical supplies, and facilitating diplomatic clearances for chartered flights and commercial shipping.
Original source: PIFS
Published on 08 April 2020