Forum chair PM Tuilaepa to attend Polynesian Leaders Summit in Tuvalu

POLYNESIAN LEADERS: Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi during the Polynesian Leaders Meeting last year. Picture: SAMOA OBSERVER

APIA, 26 JUNE 2018 (SAMOA OBSERVER)— Samoan Prime Minister and Pacific Islands Forum chairman Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi will attend the Polynesian Leaders Group meeting in Tuvalu this week. He is scheduled to depart Samoa on Wednesday.

The meeting, reports say, will consider membership applications from New Zealand, Hawai’i and Rapanui.

The group was brought together in 2011 to seek a future for Polynesian peoples and to maintain and protect the importance of cultures, traditions and languages.

It was set up as the Melanesian Spearhead Group gained more prominence and a Micronesian leaders group was established by the nations that are also members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The Funafuti meeting will also review a draft charter for the group and discuss the establishment of its secretariat.

American Samoa is to offer to host the meeting in 2019.

American Samoa Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga will also attend the meeting.

According to the preliminary agenda for the Tuvalu summit, among the issues of discussion is the appointment of American Samoa as chair of the 9th PLG Summit next year and deliberation on the venue for the summit.

The Governor during last year’s summit in Samoa, submitted a request and received the PLG leaders’ endorsement to host the 9th PL. Summit in 2019.

Other agenda issues include: Climate Change and Oceans; Tourism and Regional Aviation; and Connectivity, infrastructure, Innovations, ICT (information and communications technology) and Transport. Sustainable development goals and PLG are also on the agenda for discussions.

Regional Aviation for the South Pacific has been a long standing issue of discussions by various groups and organizations, with the goal is make it easy for islanders within the region. There had also been talks in the past for a regional airline supported by all countries and territories in the region.

The PLG leaders will also take up at the Tuvalu summit the appointment of new PLG members: Aoteora New Zealand, Hawai’i and Rapanui.

Tuvalu hosting the summit comes three months after its government opened a new terminal at the Funafuti International Airport.