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2011 PILON Annual Meeting – Auckland, NZ

New Zealand hosted the 30th Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network (PILON) Annual Meeting from 4 to 6 December 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.  The theme of the meeting was ‘Legal Challenges and Strategies to Enhance Pacific Sustainable Economic Development’.
PILON member countries represented at the meeting included Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
The following observer members also attended: International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS); Pacific International Maritime Law Association (PIMLA); Secretariat of the Pacific Community (Regional Rights Resources Team (RRRT)); Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP); United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Representatives from the Pitcairn Islands, the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police Secretariat, Pacific Immigration Directors’ Conference Secretariat, the South Pacific Lawyers’ Association (SPLA), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), AusAID, the New Zealand Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture, the SPC/SOPAC Deep Sea Mining project, and the Pacific Aviation Safety Office observed the meeting.

Meeting Outcomes

Members attending the meeting agreed to formal outcomes and a work plan for the PILON Secretariat in 2012: 

The PILON Secretariat also provided a report on its activities to those in attendance:  PILON Secretariat Report 2011 [PDF 663KB]

Members also considered, and resolved to approve, an application by the Pitcairn Islands to become a member country of PILON.

The issue of the future structure, funding and functions of the PILON Secretariat was also discussed by Members.  These issues will be the subject of further work throughout 2012.
Key issues

Members considered presentations and discussed key issues relating to the theme of the meeting including:

  • Climate Change:   The presentation by Simon Watt and Kate Redgewell of Bell Gully discussed the role of lawyers in relation to climate change issues in the Pacific Islands, on an international, regional and domestic basis. An overview of the climate change funding schemes available to Pacific Island countries for assistance in climate change adaption and mitigation was provided. (Presentation:  [PDF 0.98MB])
  • Commercialisation of State Assets:  Denis McNamara of Lowndes Associates discussed the identification of government assets for commercialisation, issues experienced by investors, and corporate governance requirements with reference to a Niue tourism example. (Presentation:  [PDF 387KB])
  • Drafting of Commercial and Investment Legislation:  David Cochrane of Simpson Grierson provided an overview of issues to consider and matters which may be included in developing effective legislation in this area. (Presentation: [PDF 485KB])
  • Fisheries Projects:  The presentation by Frank McLaughlin and Maree Newson of Chapman Tripp identified key elements of fisheries development proposals, identified risks and steps to mitigate risks, and detailed resources available through the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).  (Presentation:  [PDF 337KB])
  • Fisheries Management Issues:  Theresa Potoi of the New Zealand Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry provided a presentation which discussed domestic and international aspects of fisheries management issues, and regional cooperation in combating illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. (Presentation: [PDF 632KB])

The PILON Secretariat also provided an out-of-session paper for Members' consideration, reporting back in relation to best practice on regulation with respect to environmental and resource management (PDF 616KB)

The meeting was fortunate to be addressed by the Right Honourable Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias GNZM.  Dame Elias's presentation discussed the role of government lawyers in upholding the rule of law, and the importance of the recognition of both human rights and custom in legal systems in the Pacific (PDF 146.14KB).  

Presentations were also provided by PILON Observer Members and other regional organisations providing an update on relevant regional initiatives.  These included:

  • Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (Presentation[PDF 144KB])  
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (Presentation: [PDF 499KB])
  • University of the South Pacific Law School
  • South Pacific Lawyers' Association
  • SPC / SOPAC Deep Sea Mining Project 
  • Pacific Islands Lawyers for Human Rights Network
  • Pacific Aviation Safety Office

Other meeting documents are available on the Country Reports page (here) for the 30th Annual Meeting.


Delegates at the 30th PILON Annual Meeting