The Prime Minister of Australia and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu have announced an elevation of the two nation’s bilateral relationship.
This is now going to “a more advanced, integrated and comprehensive partnership – the Falepili Union.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement:
“Respect and support for each other’s sovereignty lies at the heart of our Falepili Union. The Falepili concept recognises the importance of collective sovereignty, whereby a country’s actions can impact on its neighbours. Each member of the neighbourhood has a duty to care for and protect its neighbours.”
Falepili is a Tuvaluan word for the traditional values of good neighbourliness, care and mutual respect. These are the values that underpin our partnership and guide our commitments to each other.
PM Albanese added that Falepili Union embodies Australia’s commitment to the collective stewardship of the Blue Pacific continent.
“We believe in Pacific sovereignty, with the Pacific Islands Forum leading the region in the Pacific way, guided by the 2050 Strategy.”
Tuvalu, formerly known as the Ellice Islands, is located in the Pacific Ocean.
This small island nation faces unique challenges such as the effects of climate change, remote location, fragmented landmass, and scarcity of natural resources.
Tuvalu commissioned eminent Tuvaluans to undertake a comprehensive examination of partnership options to protect and promote its interests and ensure its continued sovereignty.
Following this examination, the Tuvalu Government formally requested Australia consider elevating our bilateral partnership, through transformational and durable arrangements, to safeguard the future of Tuvalu’s people, identity, and culture.
PM Albanese added that this agreement will help in people-to-people relations especially “support the aspirations and wellbeing of our peoples.”
“Australia will support Tuvalu’s efforts to enable its people to continue to live and thrive in their territory and retain Tuvalu’s deep, ancestral connections to land and sea.”
Australia will extend its partnership through the expansion of the Tuvalu Coastal Adaptation Project to reclaim land in Funafuti.
This project will expand Funafuti’s land by around six percent – creating vital space for new housing and essential services for Tuvaluans, and enabling people to remain living in Tuvalu in the face of sea-level rise.
In addition, Australia has committed to providing a special pathway for citizens of Tuvalu to come to Australia with access to Australian services.
Under the Falepili Union, Australia has also committed to continuing to work closely together to support Tuvalu’s development needs, including through our bilateral development programs, and Australia’s regional programs, budget support, and contributions to Tuvalu’s Trust Fund.
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