The Foreign Secretary travels to the Pacific to strengthen partnerships with Pacific Island Countries and New Zealand.

  • James Cleverly begins a visit to the Commonwealth nations of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Samoa tomorrow (Wednesday 19 April)

  • The Foreign Secretary will announce a renewal of partnerships with Pacific nations, including millions in new funding to boost the region’s prosperity

  • New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta to join the Foreign Secretary for a joint programme in Samoa, before they travel on to Wellington on Friday (21 April)

The UK’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly begins a tour of the Pacific tomorrow (19 April), to strengthen partnerships with Pacific Island Countries, with a focus on climate change, scientific research and media freedom.

Cleverly will visit Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, before joining the New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta for a joint programme in Samoa. They will then travel on to Wellington together for engagements on Saturday.

During his trip, the Foreign Secretary will announce new commitments to show the UK’s support for a free and open Pacific. £4.5m of new funding will connect communities in Papua New Guinea and across the Pacific to clean energy sources, such as by providing an alternative to common but expensive and polluting generators. More UK experts will also work with Pacific communities to tackle marine pollution and maintain clean, healthy oceans, as part of the UK’s £500m Blue Planet Fund.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

The UK supports a free and open Pacific. At the very centre of this effort is partnering for the long haul with our friends in the Pacific Islands, listening to their priorities, and working alongside them as they forge their own futures.

The UK is redoubling its engagement in the Pacific, offering our expertise in tackling climate change, protecting the region’s oceans, promoting public health, and supporting open societies and a free media.

In Papua New Guinea, the Foreign Secretary will meet Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko and Prime Minister Marape. He will also see a Fleming Fund-backed hospital in Port Moresby, visit the Grass Skirts project which promotes women and girls’ rights, and lay a wreath at the Bomana Commonwealth War Cemetery.

In Solomon Islands, he will hear from journalists who have taken part in a UK government-backed, BBC-led training programme, and meet Prime Minister Sogavare and Foreign Minister Manele.

In Samoa, the Foreign Secretary will join Samoan Prime Minister Fiamē Naomi Mataʻafa and New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, hold trilateral talks, see the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and visit the Villa Vailima – Robert Louis Stevenson’s former home in Samoa.

The Foreign Secretary and Foreign Minister Mahuta will then fly to Wellington together. Cleverly will be greeted at the New Zealand parliament by a traditional Māori Pōwhiri ceremony, before holding talks with Foreign Minister Mahuta and Prime Minister Chris Hipkins. Later in the day he will participate in a rugby training session with players in the Black Ferns, New Zealand’s women’s rugby union team.

Notes to editors:

The breakdown of this week’s funding and other commitments is as follows:

  • A £3.5m investment for the Pacific Clean Energy Programme in Papua New Guinea, to be delivered through Australia’s ongoing Pawarim Komuniti initiative. This will help remote communities to move away from expensive, polluting fossil fuels to cleaner, more reliable energy sources.
  • A £1m Clean Energy Partnership between the UK and Pacific Community, to support a just and inclusive transition to clean energy.
  • New programmes to boost local expertise in oceans management and conservation in Solomon Islands, supported by the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund.

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Published 18 April 2023