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SG's Closing Remarks, Pacific Conf. on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis

TALKING POINTS FOR CLOSING REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY GENERAL, PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT, MR TUILOMA NERONI SLADE AT THE PACIFIC CONFERENCE ON THE HUMAN FACE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS,
PORT VILA, VANUATU, 12 FEBRUARY 2010

Crises produce opportunities. The opportunity of this Conference has been extraordinary in the diversity that has gathered in this hall for the past three days, and by the richness of your offerings.

By his personal attendance and participation the Rt Hon Prime Minister has provided leadership throughout.

- UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark
- Executive Secretary of ESCAP
- Vice President Greenwood, ADB
- President Tong – shared many important reflections and insights
- Vice President of Palau
- Vice President of Federated States of Micronesia
- Hon Sela Molisa – special admiration/gratitude – Chair since Monday
- Hon Ministers of all Pacific Countries – special feature of Conference has been the presence and active participation of so many Honourable Ministers from so many countries, in several cases more than one Minister from one country. It is you, Excellencies, that bear the burden of policy-making and your presence and leadership here has been most noticeable and welcomed.
- UN – I have not seen such a concentration of senior and important UN personnel, from so many agencies.
Conference could not have taken place without resources and skills of UNDP and other of UN system.
- Heads of regional organisation:
- Jimmie Rodgers
- Vice Chancellor of USP and learned academics of the region

- Senior Officials –Drafting Committee
- Business community and private sector
- Employers/employees
- Civil Society/NGOs
- Diplomats and reps
- Donors and Development Partners
- Children/Youth

I realise that by naming you I verge on committing the sin of omission by forgetting others. I apologise in advance about that.

But let me acknowledge clearly that all of you are the substance and the face of this Conference.

This Conference was endorsed by Forum Leaders at their 2009 annual meeting, (Cairns, Australia). In doing so, Leaders recognised the seriousness of the Global Economic Crisis and the urgent need to agree on how best to address the impact of this, and future crises on the people of the Pacific. Leaders wanted to ensure that the conference outcomes were well aligned with the views and wishes of the Pacific Leaders and peoples. It is the wish of Leaders to consider the recommendations to come from this Conference when they meet this year.

The demand of Leaders that the Conference outcomes be aligned with the views/wishes of Pacific peoples is critical. You cannot respond to a crisis unless we understand fully how and what it is that we need to respond to. The discussions of this Conference have helped to establish that degree of understanding.

As the gathered representatives of the people of the Pacific, you have spoken with their authority and with the authenticity of their concerns.

The conclusions and outcomes you have agreed to cover the broad range of issues of priority and of particular concerns exposed by the GEC. They add to the social impacts on families, the stresses on the delivery of essential health and educational services, and efforts throughout the region to alleviate poverty and the region’s progress in achieving the MDGs. Altogether, they pose the severest of challenges.

They are issues that underscore the weaknesses in one system, the fragility of our existence and the exposure and vulnerability of our Communities.

In the inter-connectedness of the modern world, we cannot overcome these challenges alone. It is why this Conference serves also as our acknowledgement of the special value of our relationships with our donor friends and development partners who are in the hall and who have worked with us in this Conference.

The human face is the finest expression of the spirit and personality of humanity.

When we began this Conference I think we were trying to define the face of our Conference. By the outcomes you have agreed, you have provided a definition of resolute determination to confront the challenge of the GEC to work together, and as partners and as a region and on a forward-looking path and programme of action which appear to me to be practical and feasible, and in line with established regional and international principles of governance, management and development.

I judge, for I am a Judge, that the decision of this Conference is to face the future directly and with collective confidence. It is right that we do so because I believe the future of the Pacific is one of infinite promise.

 

(Ends)

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