This week, Minister Michael Sukkar and Minister Alex Hawke joined counterparts from across the region for the 2020 Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, held virtually for the first time.
Discussions were focussed on the impact of COVID-19, and were an opportunity for Forum members to share their experiences in responding to the crisis and to agree to advocate for the region’s needs globally, including with International Financial Institutions.
Minister Sukkar said Australia’s priority is to support the Pacific family mitigate the fiscal crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to help chart a path to economic recovery.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a significant toll on Pacific economies, particularly those with large tourism sectors. Helping Pacific governments manage the immediate economic impact is a key priority for Australia,” Minister Sukkar said.
“Australia is also working with our Pacific family to ensure supply chains are maintained while we establish a path to longer-term economic recovery in the region.”
“Our commitment to the Pacific is strong and enduring. We look forward to continuing to work closely with our Pacific partners as we face the challenge of COVID-19 and beyond.”
Minister Hawke said Australia is committed to working with the Pacific family to build resilience and support communities in need.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound social and economic impact in the Pacific and we welcome these productive discussions shared with our Pacific partners and the agreed outcomes of this meeting,” Minister Hawke said.
“To date, Australia has supported our Pacific neighbours by providing PPE, COVID-19 testing kits and medical supplies, budget support to maintain essential services, and assistance for extending social protection programs throughout the region.”
“We will work with regional partners to limit the pandemic’s impact on children’s education and to protect the most vulnerable communities, including women and girls.”
“Australia is committed to working with Forum Island Countries and other development partners to help the region recover from the crisis.”
More information on 2020 Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers Meeting can be found on the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat website.