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28th Annual Meeting (2009) - Apia, Samoa
Samoa hosted the 28th PILON annual meeting at Aggie Grey’s Resort, Samoa, from 12-16 December 2009. The meeting was a valuable opportunity for senior law officers of the Pacific to discuss and progress significant legal sector issues.
Delegates from Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu attended the meeting.

The following observer members also attended: the Commonwealth Secretariat; International Committee of the Red Cross; Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; Pacific International Maritime Law Association; Pacific Legal Information Institute (PacLII); Secretariat Pacific Regional Environment Program; the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency; University of the South Pacific and Secretariat of the Pacific Community. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); Lexis Nexis; Auckland University; Regional Rights Resource Team (RRRT); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; the Pacific Prosecutors’ Association; and AusAID observed the meeting.

Members agreed to formal outcomes and work plan for the PILON Secretariat 2010.

Key issues
Key issues members discussed at the meeting include: approaches to a lack of capacity in law offices in the region, legislating to tackle sexual and gender-based violence, legal implications of climate change, human rights relating to prisoners and legal arrangements to protect fisheries. Members also discussed the formation of the Pacific Prosecutors' Association, practical implications implementing the Hague Conference conventions, the impact of technology on the practice of law, maritime security, private military security companies, the Commonwealth Secretariat prosecution training and disclosure obligation survey and admission to practice. Some of the papers from the meeting are available for download below.

  • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence - members agreed to encourage their governments to consider their respective domestic legislation relating to gender based violence and consider ways to enhance a regional commitment to eradicate sexual and gender based violence, particularly through strengthened legislative responses. The PILON Secretariat was tasked to provide an update on legislative efforts to combat gender-based violence at the 29th meeting.
  • Legal implications of climate change - members discussed the legal implications of climate change, including: the Copenhagen negotiations, practical implications of implementing an emissions trading scheme and how PILON members can initiate a regional response to the legal implications of climate change.
  • International disaster response - members discussed the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC) Guidelines for the Domestic Facilitation and Regulation of International Disaster relief and Initial Recovery Assistance which set recommendations to government on how to prepare disaster plans for the common regulatory problems in international disaster relief operations.
  • Human rights relating to prisoners - members discussed international human rights law and the treatment of prisoners (International Human Rights Law and Prisoners - Kris Gledhill [PDF 314KB]
  • Legal arrangements to protect fisheries - Members discussed the need for stronger legal frameworks to combat illegal fishing (FFA discussion paper [PDF 847KB]; FFA presentation [PDF 858KB])
  • Hague Conference conventions - Members discussed the Hague Family Conventions and what has to be done to adopt the conventions (Hague Conference Conventions - Practical Implications[PDF 124KB])
  • Maritime boundary delimitation - Members discussed the formalization of maritime boundaries through bilateral arrangements.
  • Safety for domestic vessels - Members discussed the importance of safety regulations for small non-SOLAS vessels.
  • Maritime legislative drafting - Members discussed the drafting of maritime legislation and what support is available through PIMLA (PIMLA Presentation[PDF 689KB])
  • UNODC - Members discussed UNODC activities aimed at strengthening legal mechanisms against transnational organized crime and terrorism in the Pacific region (UNODC Presentation [PDF 652KB])
  • PIFS - Members discussed PIFS initiatives to improve regional support for Forum island countries' legislative services, courts and tribunals (PIFS Presentation [PDF 156KB])
  • Commonwealth Secretariat - Members discussed the Commonwealth Secretariat’s presentation on their prosecution training and disclosure survey and Commonwealth Prosecution Training Program.
  • Pacific Patrol Boat Legislative Review - At the 2008 PILON meeting the PILON Secretariat was tasked with producing a discussion paper addressing the legislative frameworks required to ensure Pacific Patrol Boats can be effectively used to address broader criminal threats:  Pacific Patrol Boat Program - Discussion Paper [PDF 75KB]
Other meeting documents are available on the Country Reports page (here) for the 28th Annual Meeting.
Secretariat and work plan
PILON members discussed the future of the PILON Secretariat. The Australian Attorney-General's Department has hosted the Secretariat on an interim basis since February 2007. AGD agreed to continue in this role in 2009 until a permanent host could be identified and funded in a Pacific island country.
At the 28th PILON meeting in Samoa it was announced that funding had been secured for an independent PILON Secretariat to be based in a Pacific island country for three years. Members agreed for the PILON Secretariat to be based in Samoa for the duration of this funding with the intention of eventually co-locating with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
In 2009 the Secretariat will perform a number of tasks including the transition to an independent PILON Secretariat based in Samoa. Further details of the PILON Secretariat's tasks for 2010 are outlined in the 2010 Work Plan: 


                  Delegates at the 28th PILON Annual Meeting