Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo. Photo credit: Courtesy of Coral Triangle Initiative.

Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo. Photo credit: Courtesy of Coral Triangle Initiative.

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 proved himself at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, SPC, and it was unfortunate that he missed out.

In a government statement, Prime Minister Lilo said the Government had backed Dr. Rodgers’ candidature with strong conviction that he was the right person to lead the Forum, after proving himself at SPC for the past six years.

Mr Lilo told Solomon Island delegates in Palau Dr. Rodgers said that despite the result he was very pleased with his Government’s support.

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.

Meanwhile, the statement said Prime Minister Lilo had fought 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.

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 in contributing 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 Forum Island Countries, 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, noting also that Australian funding for the PIFFA and the SPC would increase AUD$40 million over the next four years.

The Forum ended over the weekend with a post Forum dialogue.

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