Joint Media Statement on the 10th Southwest Pacific Dialogue


1. The 10th Southwest Pacific Dialogue (SwPD) was held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 11 July 2012, at the margins of the 45th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Post Ministerial Conference, 19th ASEAN Regional Forum and 2nd East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.


2. H.E. Dr. Marty Natalegawa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, chaired the meeting. In attendance were Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia; Hon Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand; H.E. Mr Veali Vagi, Special Envoy of Hon Ano Pala, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Papua New Guinea; H.E. Mrs. Erlinda Basilio, Undersecretary for Policy, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines; and Hon Zacarias Albano da Costa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor Leste.


3. Ministers reviewed the progress made in the context of the SwPD and concluded that it has contributed to the region’s peace, stability and prosperity. They underscored the continued usefulness of the SwPD as a venue for exchanges of views on regional issues and their possible responses.


4. Ministers exchanged views on various areas of cooperation, particularly on connectivity, maritime cooperation and conservation, and democracy issues.


5. Ministers recognized that the SwPD plays an important bridging role between the Southeast Asian and Pacific regions, and that it needs to add value to efforts for connectivity in the broader region of Asia and the Pacific, such as those undertaken by ASEAN as well as through bilateral mechanisms. The meeting took note of the presentation by Indonesia on the SwPD connectivity, which highlighted the need for improving transportation and telecommunication infrastructures; effective institutions, mechanisms and processes; and people to people contacts to connect the region. Ministers were mindful of the importance of promoting and facilitating greater interaction among the peoples and the flow of goods, services and investment in the region.


6. Ministers applauded Indonesia for successfully convening the 4th Bali Democracy Forum held on 8 – 9 December 2011, which was co-chaired by Indonesia and Bangladesh and attended by delegations from 80 countries. The growing number of participating countries in the Forum is a testament of its important role in promoting democracy in the Asia-Pacific region. Ministers looked forward to the 5th Bali Democracy Forum in November 2012.


7. Ministers welcomed the recent steps taken by Fiji towards holding elections in 2014, including hosting a visit by the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group. However, Ministers remained concerned that there are still some measures in place that restrict democratic freedoms and encourage Fiji to continue to implement reforms to restore full democratic freedoms.


8. Ministers emphasized the importance of maritime cooperation to address various issues of common concern. They agreed that more concrete activities among member countries of SwPD are welcomed in the area of marine resources management, sustainable fisheries and marine environmental protection, thereby contributing to economic development of member countries. In particular, Ministers expressed their strong support for the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) which contributes to improving the conservation and sustainable management of marine resources and, through this, food security and sustainable livelihoods.


9. Ministers held an exchange of views on the issue of climate change and other challenges to sustainable development. They reaffirmed their commitment to the outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit, highlighting the focus at Rio+20 on the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources. Ministers noted that regional mechanisms would be an important avenue for progress on the Rio+20 outcomes, and welcomed that the Pacific Islands Forum had identified oceans as a key theme for 2012.


10. Ministers welcomed the successful presidential and parliamentary elections in Timor Leste and are confident that such a democratic process would support further development of the country. Ministers also agreed that this achievement is a testament of SwPD countries’ strong commitment in advancing democratic process in the region. The meeting took note of the progress on the election in Papua New Guinea as vibrant and thriving.


11. Ministers thanked the Government of Indonesia for chairing and hosting the 10th Southwest Pacific Dialogue meeting and welcomed the offer from the Philippines to host the 11th SWPD in 2013 in Brunei Darussalam, in the margins of the 46th AMM, PMC and 20th ARF.