A CALL has been made for members of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to seriously consider the idea of a peacekeeping force or an Emergency Response Force
Speaking on this issue yesterday was Sir Michael Somare, who said Fiji could play a crucial role in this area.
"The MSG countries are situated in an area prone to natural disasters.
"More often than not, the devastation itself renders individual governments responses inadequate," Sir Michael said in his keynote address at the MSG's 25th anniversary celebrations yesterday morning.
He said given the geographical location of MSG members, this was a topic which should be deliberated on.
"Regular natural disasters and their effects on our respective countries responses also underlie the need to establish a joint emergency response unit.
"This must be seriously considered by our governments.
"Timely response by individual countries is often lacking due to capacity constraints.
"This is further compounded by resource limitations thus exacting unnecessary suffering on our peoples," said Sir Michael.
He suggested that given the vulnerability of MSG countries to natural disasters, it was wise to invest in discussions pertaining to an emergency response force.
"Evolving political and security concerns within our countries suggest that an arrangement such as a rapid response unit might assist local authorities alleviate if not address these concerns.
"I encourage MSG governments to establish the MSG humanitarian and emergency response force as soon as possible," Sir Michael concluded.