South Pacific Defence Ministers have been urged to provide strategic leadership and guidance to climate change and the security nexus of the region.

Speaking at the opening of the 4th South Pacific Defence Ministers Meeting (SPDMM) held on Denarau, Nadi this morning, Minister for Defence, National Security and Foreign Affairs Hon. Inia Seruiratu highlighted that it is also up to them to find ways of trying to address issues of climate change.

“Pacific Leaders in 2018 forged a new regional security arrangement recognizing climate change as the single greatest non-traditional threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.”

“This is an important step forward for our region in the fight against climate change and the ball is now in our court here at the SPDMM to be able to provide strategic leadership and guidance to the climate change and security nexus of our region.”

Minister Seruiratu highlighted that the Fijian Government is honoured to be given the opportunity to play host to the high level security meeting, where they will consolidate their efforts in ensuring the security of the region, its peoples and their livelihoods.

“Having said that, I would like to acknowledge the outcomes of the 2017 SPDMM, particularly the reaffirmed enduring importance of security and defence to the South Pacific which provides for the continued regional stability and prosperity of our region.

“This is ensured and realized through regional collaboration and partnership approaches such as the POVAI Endeavour Framework, advancements in women, peace and security, and the recognition of key challenges for the regions security and defence.”

The Minister also called on his counterparts to take advantage of the defence exercise platform as outlined in the POVAI framework that promotes a learning environment to progress women participation in peace and security.