Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has congratulated the new Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Dame Meg Taylor of Papua New Guinea.
At the same-time, Mr. Lilo has spoken highly of Solomon Islander Dr. Jimmy Rodgers who lost out to Taylor during last week’s election in Koror, Palau.
Mr. Lilo said Dr. Rodgers was an outstanding Solomon Islander who had proved himself at the SPC and it was unfortunate that he missed out.
Prime Minister Lilo said that the Government had backed Dr. Rodgers candidature with the strong conviction that he was the right person to lead the Forum after proving himself at the SPC for the past six years.
Speaking to the Solomon Islands delegates in Palau, Dr. Rodgers said that despite the outcome of the result he was very pleased with the support of his Government.
He said that the support he received from his Government was exceptional especially the leadership taken by the Prime Minister and his Government in pushing his candidature.
It is understood that Prime Minister Lilo had fought very hard at the leaders’ retreat resulting in the disqualification of two candidates from the Micronesian block on the basis that they submitted their applications after the closing date.
Meanwhile amongst some of the major outcomes of the Forum was that leaders called for fishery and extractive industry stakeholders, as well as States operating in the region to take on the responsibility to contribute to the rehabilitation of the Oceans and its resources.
Pacific Leaders also welcomed Australia’s pledge of AUD 2 billion to extend the Pacific Patrol Boat Program to strengthen monitoring, control and surveillance in the Exclusive Economic Zones of FICs, with the first replacement vessels to come on line from 2018.
They acknowledged new Australian funding for aerial maritime surveillance and the secondment of regional officials to the PIFFA. They also noted that Australian funding for the PIFFA and the SPC would increase to $40 million over the next four years.
The Forum ended on Friday with post Forum dialogue.