25th Asia-Pacific forum opens in Fiji

Suva: The 25th Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) opened on Monday in Fiji, focusing on parliamentary partnerships for peace and security.

The five-day forum, which was being held at Natadola saw the participation of delegations from over 20 countries from the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, China, Japan, Peru, Philippines, and Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who declared the forum open, called on participants to boost parliamentary partnerships that would be in line with the sustainable development goals of the UN.

“The APPF has shown many other countries and international institutions how elected legislatures can lead the way in deepening regional cooperation to spur economic development,” Bainimarama said.

“Here, we can deepen the trust and security cooperation among our nations and find solutions that can save valuable time in preventing transnational crimes,” he said.

“We can share strategies that have been effective, and explain pitfalls that should be avoided. We can lay the groundwork for the next phase of regional security by strengthening existing frameworks and systems,” he added.

He also called on them to prepare the next generation for the challenges “not yet upon us”.

The APPF is a mechanism that enables parliamentarians to discuss issues of common concern, and to deepen their understandings of the region and the interests and experiences of different countries.

The 24th APPF was hosted by Canada in 2016.