commenced. In 1996, legal activities under the project included in-country technical assistance associated with environmental legislation in Kiribati, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. A memorandum of understanding was adopted between SPREP and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal for future working collaboration, particularly upon entry into force of the Waigani Convention.
The 27th South Pacific Forum, held in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands, 3-5 September, centred on the theme of "Pacific Solidarity for the Common Good." It agreed on measures for economic reform and development and produced a Forum Communiqué on matters including environmental issues. The Communiqué called upon the GEF and the UNDP to extend the funding period for the South Pacific Biological Diversity Programme. It also declared 1997 the "International Year of the Coral Reef" for the Pacific region and welcomed Australia's hosting of the Secretariat for the International Coral Reefs Initiative for the two years from June 1996.
The Forum agreed that shipments of plutonium and radioactive wastes through the region posed a continuing concern and it reiterated the need for the highest international safety and security standards to be observed in such shipments, which should also be conducted in full consultation with Forum countries. The Forum also expressed concern with the recent revival of a proposal to establish a nuclear waste storage site on Palmyra Atoll, a US territory, and called upon the United States to oppose this proposal. Progress on global nuclear matters, such as disarmament, a comprehensive test ban, and adequate civil liability for nuclear damage was also called for.
New Zealand continued to protest against Japan's "scientific whaling" programme. In talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Ikeda, New Zealand Foreign Minister Don McKinnon said "I regret Japan's decision to ignore the strong call by the International Whaling Commission to abandon its 'scientific whaling' programme and instead adopt non-lethal methods. Japan is also acting in disregard for the overwhelming international support for the southern ocean sanctuary, established in 1994." New Zealand also cosponsored two strong resolutions at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in December 1995. One of the resolutions included a call on the IWC's Scientific Committee to review all lethal research programmes and