First held in Papua New Guinea in 2016, the biennial Future Leaders’ Summit is an initiative of the South Pacific Defence Ministers’ Meeting. The summit nurtures our region’s future leaders by bringing together young military officers, police and government officials from across the Pacific to strengthen understanding, enhance collaboration and foster interagency cooperation in an effort to advance shared interests toward a secure and prosperous South Pacific region.
The 2018 Future Leaders’ Summit was held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 19–22 March 2018. Australian’s then Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Binskin, and his Papua New Guinea counterpart, Brigadier General Toropo, opened the summit. The summit’s overarching theme was maritime security, which the Chiefs’ emphasised as an issue requiring a collective response from all participating countries.
At the summit, young future leaders discussed defence and security issues challenging the region; examined the need to develop whole-of-government Women, Peace and Security, and regional approaches to address these issues; and built people-to-people ties across our region. Australian initiatives, including the Pacific Maritime Security Program, were discussed.
The summit supports Australia’s regional security priorities by fostering people-to-people and cultural links across the region, supporting the professionalisation of security forces in the Pacific, and encouraging regional coordination and collaboration on shared security interests. The development of a network of regional future leaders also plays a key role in supporting Defence’s efforts to enhance the stability and security of our near region.