The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency of unprecedented scale, posing extreme danger to the health and security of our Pacific people. Never before has a crisis impacted so directly on all 18 Members of the Pacific Islands Forum.
Pacific Island countries have taken proactive and strong measures to protect their people and prevent the spread of COVID-19 including enacting ‘states of emergency’ and stringent border and travel restrictions. In some cases, these measures are restricting the movement of medical and humanitarian supplies, equipment and personnel by the World Health Organisation and other regional and international actors.
Pacific Islands Forum Leaders have invoked the Biketawa Declaration to collectively respond to COVID-19, as one Blue Pacific family. The Biketawa Declaration provides the regional framework for responding to Member states’ request for assistance in times of crisis.
Forum Foreign Ministers have established a Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 (PHP-C), under the Biketawa Declaration. When requests for assistance are made, the PHP-C provides the political environment to enable efficient and timely movement of medical supplies, humanitarian assistance and technical experts to Pacific Island Forum states.
The PHP-C will be overseen by Forum Foreign Ministers from Tuvalu, Nauru, Vanuatu, Fiji, RMI, Australia and NZ. They will be supported by a Regional Taskforce of Forum Members, CROP agencies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and regional law enforcement and legal agencies.