Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
Commonwealth Secretary General Visits PIFS - Geneva Office

The Secretary General of the Commonwealth Rt.Hon Partricia Scotland (second left) and PIFS - Geneva staff – Joe Lui, Intern (Vanuatu), Mere Falemaka, Permanent Representative and Alex Kerangpuna, Trade Policy Officer.

The newly appointed Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland, QC, paid a courtesy visit to all the Commonwealth Small States Office in Geneva, including the Pacific Islands Forum Geneva Office on 7th April 2016.

As part of the visit she met with the Forum Secretariat’s Permanent Representative to Geneva, Mrs. Mere Falemaka.

The Secretary General said that climate change was one of her priorities, given its significant impact on small island states, including those in the Pacific region. She added that she would like to see the Commonwealth nations working together to develop practical solutions for addressing its impact saying “I am committed to working with the Pacific Commonwealth Members in finding practical ways to implement and attain the goals of the COP21 Paris climate agreement rather than just talking.”

The Secretary General spoke of the Climate Change Roundtable convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London on 6th April, 2016, at which the Fijian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, HE Jitoko Tikolevu, made a moving presentation on the destruction caused by the recent Cyclone Winston which touched those who were present. The presentation demonstrated the reality of climate change in small island states and for the global community. The Secretary General assured that the Commonwealth would work to find practical solutions through collating the ideas, experiences and success stories that could be shared among the islands states to help in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

In welcoming the Secretary General, Mrs Falemaka congratulated her on her appointment and thanked her for the courtesy visit. She added that the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat was grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat for the Small States Facility which enabled the regional representation for Pacific World Trade Organisation members in Geneva. She welcomed the Secretary General’s commitment to addressing climate change, an issue that is close to the heart of the Pacific island countries saying “I welcome your commitment to working together towards strengthening the interests of the Pacific Island countries.”



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