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Friday, May 10, 2019, 17:01
Defense ministers discuss security threats to South Pacific
By Xinhua
Friday, May 10, 2019, 17:01 By Xinhua

SUVA - All recommendations to enhance the sharing of best practice and regional cooperation have been adopted by the 4th South Pacific Defense Ministers Meeting (SPDMM) held in Nadi, Fiji's third largest city, over the past three days.

We collectively recognized the evolving geo-politics of the region and the rapidly shifting and complex dynamics influencing regional security

Inia Seruiratu,

Defense Minister, Fiji

Fijian Defense Minister Inia Seruiratu said Friday that this includes New Zealand's proposal to host a Climate Change and Defense Working Group Meeting in 2020 to assist member countries to progress outcomes.

Seruiratu said the ministers also requested Chile's Minister of Defense to explore the possibility to include a panel to discuss and propose how defense can support mitigation efforts against climate change, as part of COP25 in 2019.

Australia has also proposed to make the meeting an annual forum and offered to host the 5th SPDMM in 2020.

The SPDMM is the only forum available for defense ministers, chiefs of defense and their respective representatives to discuss the key security priorities of the Pacific region.

READ MORE: Climate reality check: Global carbon pollution up in 2018

Seruiratu said the SPDMM has focused on the importance of responding to both traditional and non-traditional security threats that not only affect them as individual states but collectively as a region.

"We collectively recognized the evolving geo-politics of the region and the rapidly shifting and complex dynamics influencing regional security," Seruiratu said. 

Seruiratu also said this includes transnational and cyber security threats, maritime security challenges, and natural disasters, among others.

The ministers discussed the effects of climate change, which remains the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of people in the Pacific. The forum appreciated a French-led study conducted in collaboration with all SPDMM members to highlight the increasingly severe effects of climate change and their impact in the region.

ALSO READ: Prince Harry highlights daily threat of climate change in Fiji

Representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, France, Papua New Guinea and Tonga attended the meeting, with the US and Britain acting as observers. 

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