Pacific States Discuss Protection Against Chemical Warfare

Fiji and other Pacific island countries are stepping up security around the region by developing a legislation at the Chemical Weapons Convention currently underway in Suva.

Opening the workshop today, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Mason Smith said this was crucial for the South Pacific.

“As non-possessor States, the repercussion of a chemical incident would be extremely damaging. It is on that notion that we are to collectively reflect on our national legislation in place, establish partnership amongst the region and share best practices to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention.

“Our progression of its implementation is measured by developing a robust and clearly defined
legislation and chemical emergency response mechanisms for the Pacific.”

While the Pacific might not be producing chemical weapons, the passing through of such is a major threat.

“As Small Island Developing States within our region, we remain susceptible to the illicit trade of chemicals for ill intentions given the vast ocean space that exists between our nations, the porous nature of our borders and our limited resources.”

“As member states of the Chemical Weapons Convention, it is imperative that we recognize and understand the importance of putting in place national mechanisms that effectively address the elimination of chemical incidents.”

“I urge us all to participate in this meeting with an open mind and ensure that our collaboration efforts are to be focused more in the areas of information sharing and common interests. This could assist, not only our individual States, but the region as a whole in the implementation of
the Convention,” Smith said.

The meeting which is being held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat is attended by reps of various governments around the region.

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