The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) was visited by Ambassador Miroljub Petrović, from the Canberra based Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, who acknowledged the continued efforts of PIDF and its unique inclusive and multi-stakeholder approach on facilitating dialogue and action on arising issues of concern within the Pacific Islands.

HE Petrović, who attended the PIDF Conference in 2015, assured that discussions continue to be held with the Serbian Government for support in areas of mutual collaboration in regards to innovative strategies for climate change, renewable energy and sustainable economic development.

“There are certain areas of common interests with PIDF which will be discussed with my capital (Serbia),” commented HE Petrović.

The ambassador’s visit allowed PIDF Secretary General, François Martel the opportunity to provide an update on major accomplishments and strategic pathways forward to achieve PIDF’s mandate. The Secretary General highlighted the outcomes of the 2016 Leaders’ Summit held in Honiara, Solomon Islands and informed the ambassador of the increase in PIDF membership from 9 in 2015 to 13 members currently which include representation from private sector and civil society organisations, as well as governments of member countries.

“We would also like to express gratitude to the Government of Serbia for providing diplomatic support for our application for a United Nations (UN) Observer Status which was successfully granted to us in December last year,” said Secretary General Martel.

The ambassador was informed about PIDFs participation in the steering committee towards Pacific preparations for the upcoming UN Conference on Oceans & SDG14 and provided an overview of climate change leadership initiatives such as the Suva Declaration, development of a Guidance Note and presentations during side events at COP22 and current preparations towards a united pacific voice at COP23 later this year.

Secretary General Martel also mentioned the progress on the establishment of National Sustainable Development Boards (NSDBs).

“We are having in-country consultations with our members for the establishment of NSDBs which are in effect multi-stakeholders’ national focal points and first level of Governance for the PIDF.  These include consultations on the proposed PIDF Strategic Plan, discussions on the proposed PIDF Climate Roadmap and the draft Pacific Climate Treaty,” said the PIDF Secretary General.

HE Petrović was also provided an update on the PIDF Leaders’ Summit and the Biennial Conference which is scheduled to be held in August in Honiara, Solomon Islands with a Pacific Blue Economy Conference as well.

“I look forward to participating in the upcoming Conferences and make constructive contributions towards deliberations during the meet and foster genuine partnerships,” said ambassador Petrović.