MEDIA RELEASE: Pacific Security College Hosts Inaugural Pacific Regional and National Security Conference

Honourable Prime Minister of Fiji, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Suva, Fiji: In a historic gathering at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, the first-ever Pacific Regional and National Security Conference commenced today, drawing a diverse assembly of leaders, experts, and representatives from across the Pacific region and beyond.

Organised by the Pacific Security College, the three day conference seeks to address the multifaceted security challenges facing the Pacific and to fortify the regional collaborative effort towards a peaceful and prosperous future.

In his opening address, Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka outlined the strategic aspects of the polycrisis, focusing on climate change, transnational crime, human security, and the vision of an Ocean of Peace.

“For us, the difference between 1.5 degrees and 2 or 3 degrees is not subtle – it is a knife’s edge. It is the difference between the habitability of our island homes and forced migration, between economic sovereignty and dependency on external aid. Our ancestors’ seasonal patterns are rapidly shifting, demanding urgent collective action,” he stated.

He also pledged Fiji’s continued support for neighboring nations facing natural disasters such as bushfires, tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and tsunamis; “Fiji stands with you,” he affirmed.

Addressing the pervasive threat of transnational organised crime, Prime Minister Rabuka highlighted Fiji’s challenges as a hub and transit point in the Pacific.

“Criminal networks manipulate and disregard borders. Our recent drug raids, with seizures valued in the billions, highlight the gravity of this issue. These networks can only be disrupted and dismantled through our united efforts.”

He called for innovative strategies and collaborative measures from the conference to combat the scourge of transnational crime and the growing threat of cybercriminals and  stressed the importance of human security.

The ‘triple burden’ of non-communicable diseases, mental health issues, climate emergency, and COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has made robust biosecurity measures in our interconnected world necessary.

He welcomed the conference’s role in fostering dialogue and expertise to enhance the region’s human security approach.

Highlighting the increasing geopolitical tensions in the Pacific, Rabuka advocated for the Blue Pacific to be declared an ‘Ocean of Peace’, and elaborated on the need for a principled approach to ensure that the Pacific remains a region of stability amidst diverse and sometimes conflicting interests.

“As custodians of the ocean, it is our duty to embed peace as a cornerstone of our policies and strategies. The Ocean of Peace concept embodies the Pacific Way, characterised by humility, quiet leadership, reconciliation, and communication.”

Prime Minister Rabuka commended those countries that are revising their national security strategies and shared Fiji’s work on the National Security and Defence Review process.

“This is a crucial step towards a secure, stable, and prosperous Fiji, aligned with our regional family. The Pacific Way reminds us of our past, our traditions, languages, cultural values, and faith. It also directs us towards our future, caring for the next generation and the world we will leave for them. Our regional agreements, like the Boe Declaration and the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, provide a roadmap for collective action.”

“Seeing everyone here highlights the strength and the solidarity of the Pacific security effort. It is through our combined efforts and shared wisdom that we can build peaceful and prosperous Pacific communities. My government is dedicated to fostering peace – domestically, regionally, and globally.”

The Pacific Security College looks forward to productive dialogue and collaborative problem-solving as we work together to safeguard our Blue Pacific for future generations.

For further information, please contact:

Cheerieann Wilson, tel: 679 7589065 whatsapp: +679 7589065
Caitlin Welch, Pacific Security College: tel: 679 289 5088 whatsapp: +61 452 463 646

For video footage and photos from the Pacific Regional and National Security Conference please contact:

Caitlin Welch, Pacific Security College: tel: 679 289 5088 whatsapp: +61 452 463 646

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