32nd Annual Meeting (2013) Nuku’alofa, Tonga
Tonga hosted the 32nd Pacific Islands Law Officers Network (PILON) Annual Meeting from the 5 to 6 November in Nuku’alofa Tonga.The theme of the meeting was ‘Domesticating International Law: Challenges and Best Practices’.
PILON member countries represented at the meeting included Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
The following observer members also attended: the Commonwealth Secretariat; Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; Pacific Legal Information Institute (PacLII); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP); the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA); International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); University of the South Pacific (USP) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT).
Representatives from the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APGML), the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association (SPLA), the New Zealand Parliamentary Counsel Office, New Zealand Police Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Programme (PPDVP), Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police (PICP) Secretariat, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), Regional Office of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO) Secretariat observed the meeting.
Members attending the meeting agreed to formal outcomes and a work plan for the PILON Secretariat in 2014:
• 2013 PILON Annual Meeting Outcomes Report [PDF 932KB]
• 2014 PILON Secretariat Work Plan [PDF 460KB]
The PILON Secretariat also provided a report on its activities to those in attendance: PILON Secretariat Report 2013 [PDF 633KB]
Also find Attachment A: [PDF 311KB]
Members also considered, and resolved to approve, an application by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG/ML) to become an observer member of PILON.
The Honourable Mr Samiu Kuita Vaipulu, Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure welcomed the delegates to Tonga and opened the meeting on behalf of the Government of the Kingdom of Tonga. The Minister in his opening address discussed the theme of the meeting, and its recognition that the Pacific region is no longer socially or economically isolated and can no longer allow important decisions in the international arena to be made only by other larger countries.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Strategic Partnership and Coordination Program), Mr Feleti Teo, provided the keynote address to PILON members. Mr Teo discussed the importance of international law in underpinning Pacific countries’ economic, development and security objectives, and provided an overview of the way that Pacific countries have contributed to the development of international treaties, particularly in the area of the law of the sea, fisheries management and disarmament. Mr Teo also highlighted the important role of Government lawyers in advising governments in relation to international treaties, from the initial negotiation of a treaty, to the decision of a government to become a party to a treaty (or not), to the implementation of a treaty.
Members considered presentations and discussed key issues relating to the theme of the meeting including:
• FATF Recommendations: Presentation by Ms Bronwyn Somerville, Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APGML);
• International Humanitarian Law: Presentation by Ms Monica Silverwood. Legal Adviser, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC);
• Climate Change and relocation in the Pacific: implications for international law: Presentation by Mr Kosimiki Latu, Deputy Director General, SPREP;
• United Nations human rights standards and mechanisms: Presentation by Mr Erik Friberg, Deputy Head, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regional Office.
A summary of each presentation is contained in the Meeting Outcomes Report, above.
Presentations were also provided by PILON Observer Members and other regional organisations providing an update on relevant regional initiatives. These included the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), South Pacific Lawyers’ Association (SPLA), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Secretariat, Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resources Team (SPC/RRRT), Oceania Customs Organisation (OCO), Commonwealth Secretariat, Pacific Prevention of Domestic Violence Program and the Pacific International Maritime Law Association (PIMLA).
Members also considered presentations providing updates regarding the Pacific Legislative Drafters’ Technical Forum and PILON Litigation Skills Programme.
Other meeting documents are available on the Country Reports page for the 32nd Annual Meeting.