Pacific security leaders from 25 countries have visited Nadi, Fiji, for the fourth Joint Heads of Pacific Security (JHOPS) meeting to share ideas and discuss regional solutions to common security challenges.
CAPTION: Pacific leaders visit the humanitarian and disaster-relief warehouse at Blackrock Camp, during the Joint Heads of Pacific Security Meeting 2022, in Fiji. Photo by Allan Stephen.
More than 70 leaders, from defence, police, customs, immigration and Pacific regional bodies, participated in the forum from Monday 7 to Wednesday 9 November.
Delegates came together in the “Pacific way” to focus on turning regional policy positions into regional security solutions via consensus and collective action.
Climate change led the agenda because of its threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of Pacific communities.
Chief of the Australian Defence Force General Angus Campbell said JHOPS 2022 was an opportunity to build on existing partnerships, and to set shared objectives.
“Solutions to regional issues require collaboration across law enforcement, defence, immigration and customs. No single agency or country has the full picture or ability to do it alone.
“Through JHOPS we can connect, learn from each other and become a more resilient region.”
Maritime security was also on the agenda, with topics including transnational crime, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, human trafficking, and unauthorised maritime arrivals. These challenges continue to impact Pacific families, communities and societies.
Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram said ABF was honoured to work closely with partners across the Pacific, including customs and immigration agencies, which play a key role in operationalising policies to enhance regional security.
“Now more than ever, our ability to work collaboratively is vital as our region faces increasingly urgent and difficult challenges.”
“A coordinated regional approach is essential for our Pacific family to effectively secure its maritime territory and protect our resources from traditional and non-traditional threats”.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the AFP had deep bonds in the Pacific that had been built over decades of working closely with regional partners to prevent, detect, deter, and disrupt crime.
“The AFP and our regional policing partners have a strong track record of working together to keep our communities safe from criminal groups targeting the Pacific region.
“Strengthening these partnerships was a key focus of JHOPS to ensure that law enforcement agencies continue to make a vital contribution to regional security.”
JHOPS22 was an opportunity for delegates to reaffirm their commitment to protecting the Pacific maritime environment.