PIDC Chair Calls for Continued Regional Collaboration to Managing Pacific island Nationals Stranded by COVID-19
Tuvalu, as new Chair for the Pacific Immigration Development Community (PIDC), has called for a closer regional cooperation amongst Members to support Pacific Island nationals stranded due to COVID-19. Addressing Members at the recent PIDC Regular Annual Meeting, Tuvalu’s Minister of Justice, Communications and Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Simon Kofe, in noting the conference theme of ‘Securing Borders in a challenging COVID-19 world’ encouraged Members to promote regional solidarity in managing the various ongoing challenges of the global pandemic with a special focus on Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) already combating COVID-19 in their local communities.
Also discussed at the Regular Annual Meeting, Members were briefed on a number of regional activities delivered by the organisation over the past financial year including: (a) the implementation of the PIDC COVID-19 Support Programme with a financial grant provided by the Government of Australia; (b) Tokelau signing the PIDC Memorandum of Arrangement (MoA) on Immigration Enforcement Information Sharing; (c) the ongoing national technical assistance provided to Members to strengthen immigration legislation, immigration Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Strategic Planning and strengthening of immigration training curriculums; and (d) the development of technical immigration research and information resources and guides designed specifically for PICT Immigration Agencies.
One significant milestone also celebrated by the PIDC Membership was the graduation of the pioneer class of students with the online University of the South Pacific (USP) Postgraduate Diploma in Border Security. The online academic programme which was developed in partnership by PIDC and USP was introduced in 2020 with work being undertaken to upgrade the award to a full Masters Programme in 2022. The Postgraduate Diploma is unique in providing border security related academic modules designed specifically for Pacific Island law enforcement practitioners. The pioneering class was made up of students from across the region with various backgrounds such as law enforcement officers, (Immigration, Customs and Police), public servants, academics, diplomats and legal officers. Several immigration officer graduates were funded by a PIDC Scholarship Programme with funding now being provided to support a second cohort of students.