Pacific leaders are putting their heads together on
climate change solutions and the situation in Fiji at a remote
retreat in the Marshall Islands.
Clad in this year's beige "silly shirts", the 15 Pacific
Island Forum leaders including New Zealand Prime Minister
John Key sailed to Eneko Island, a distant part of the main
atoll Majuro, on Thursday morning for discussions away from
officials and media.
Australia's representative, Mental Health Minister Jacinta
Collins, flew in late on Wednesday night ahead of the
retreat, where she's representing the government while other
ministers focus on this weekend's general election.
The Marshall Islands has chosen climate change as the theme
of this year's forum, as it and other low-lying Pacific
states become increasingly desperate for solutions to escape
rising waters, severe weather and ocean acidification.
Ahead of the retreat, Mr Key said he was looking forward to
discussions the Pacific way, culminating in a communique
outlining a united position on a number of issues.
Mr Key and Senator Collins will face scrutiny over their
countries' meagre carbon emissions reduction targets, which
smaller nations want them to bolster.
Both countries say big emitters such as the United States,
China and India also need to commit to climate change
Leaders will endorse the new Majuro Declaration, a statement
urging countries to set bold carbon reduction targets and
take meaningful action to combat climate change.
On Friday, they'll take the declaration to a post-forum
dialogue with big emitters.
Leaders will also discuss the situation in Fiji, which
remains suspended from the forum until it holds democratic
elections due to take place in September next year.
Ahead of the retreat, Mr Key indicated New Zealand's stance
on Fiji is softening, saying its new constitution, including
immunity for coup leaders, is not perfect, but the Pacific
must look to the future - a view shared by small island
leaders at a series of press conferences ahead of the