Fiji Time: 12:03 PM on Thursday 22 March

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Fiji to host meet

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, May 06, 2014

FIJI is the first Pacific country to host the Asia-Pacific Heads of Maritime Safety Agencies meeting.

And Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji CEO Neale Slack says the forum is pioneering a new way of addressing maritime issues for Pacific Island Countries.

"We are holding a series of meetings within the forum itself like getting representatives from Small Island Developing States together to discuss common issues," he said.

"We realised we have to work closer and better than we ever have before because we have common challenges and common issues and if we do something about those issues and challenges, we have common opportunities. And I see this as a strengthening of, in particular Pacific nations, but also the Asia-Pacific region as well."

Mr Slack added that apart from holding talks on maritime and safety issues, holding the meeting in Fiji was significant because it provided an opportunity for representatives from member states that had never travelled to Fiji to get a taste of the Pacific.

"The way we've structured this program is to ensure that every delegate that comes here experiences Fiji and also the Pacific.

"The attire is Bula its not suit and jacket.

"We've also designed a program to ensure delegates at the conference understand the culture of the Pacific and the challenges and opportunities that we face as well.

"In previous meetings there was talk and they were descriptive in nature but no real resolutions were derived from them.

"We are driving this forum together with the secretariat from Australia to ensure we have tangible, realistic, deliverable solutions."

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