Remarks by Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor to the Micronesian President’s Summit 2018

Micronesian Presidents’ Summit, 2018
Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands



Remarks by Secretary General Meg Taylor DBE


  • Distinguished Leaders
  • Honourable Ministers
  • Senior Officials
  • Distinguished Guests
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

At the outset I would like to thank you Chair and your fellow Leaders for the invitation to attend the 2018 Micronesian Presidents’ Summit. I am honoured to be here.

This is the first time for me as Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum to observe the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit. Every political body is unique, and each have their own style and atmosphere. So I am really interested to see first-hand and learn from the discussions and deliberations of the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit.  As the Chair of the Council of the Regional Organisations in the Pacific, I acknowledge the presence of my colleagues from FFA, SPC and SPREP.

Our Pacific region has a long and rich history of cooperation at so many levels, and across many different sectors and issues. Sub-regional groups have long played an important role in the region, in progressing the priorities and concerns that arise from shared geographies and cultures. Over time we have seen the establishment of the Micronesian Presidents’ Summit, the Melanesian Spearhead Group, the Polynesian Leaders Group, the Parties to Nauru Agreement, and within the Forum, the Smaller Islands States Group. These groups all demonstrate the value of working with your immediate neighbours – and in turn contributing to the political and development ambitions of the wider Pacific neighbourhood.

Last year you, as Forum Leaders, endorsed the Blue Pacific as the statement of our collective identity, drawn from our connection to the Pacific Ocean. The Blue Pacific represents a shift in the way we as a region present ourselves to the world – not as small and disparate island states. Rather, we should see ourselves as united and strong; as one blue oceanic continent.

And the relevance of this identity is very clear to me today, recognising the vast area that is Micronesia – a significant span of the world that you as Leaders are entrusted to govern.

Honourable Leaders, it is only 6 months or so since you came together with the wider membership of the Pacific Islands Forum so I do not propose to describe in detail the outcomes of that meeting. Rather I would like to focus on a couple of specific issues and areas of work where I see particular synergies with this Summit.

One of these issues is the Smaller Islands States Strategy, which was endorsed by all Forum Leaders in 2016. The SIS Strategy demonstrates the Forum’s commitment to
sub-regionalism as an important element of Pacific regionalism. As you will recall, the Strategy identifies five priority areas, being climate change, labour, health, marine, and air and sea transportation.  We are currently working to progress specific issues prioritised by SIS Leaders in 2017, including: air services and upper air space management; coordination of joint SIS proposals to the Green Climate Fund; and labour mobility.

In endorsing the Strategy, Leaders recognised the critical importance of whole of government commitment and coherence in driving the regional agenda. Similarly, Leaders recognised that a “whole of region” effort is required to support the unique needs of the SIS. This has laid the foundation for developing an implementation plan which clearly aligns priority areas of work with CROP resources. The SIS Strategy also provides a basis for advocating the alignment of resources and support from other development actors and financiers.

I would like to highlight a particular development that exemplifies our ongoing commitment to supporting capacity development in the SIS - and that is the expansion of the SIS attachment programme to all CROP agencies. This programme provides officials from SIS governments the opportunity to gain experience across the full spectrum of the regional architecture, and also contribute national perspectives and understandings to your regional agencies. I urge you to facilitate your officials’ participation in this very useful programme.

As Leaders that now constitute the larger portion of the SIS grouping, I would like to encourage your reflection on the synergies and alignment between your decisions today and those made within the context of the SIS, and indeed within the broader Forum grouping.

One of the decisions made in the broader Forum grouping last year in Samoa was to look at how we as a region can build on the Biketawa Declaration, being the most prominent and arguably most successful of the Forum’s regional security declarations.

As you will recall, Leaders were keen to ensure that we as a region take a wholistic approach to security, and that our concept of security is inclusive of human security, humanitarian assistance; and that our approach prioritises environmental security, and regional cooperation in building resilience to disasters and climate change.

In response to this call for a ‘Biketawa Plus’, we at the Secretariat have commenced regional consultations on what stakeholders across the region see as security priorities.  We are asking a wide group of stakeholders what they see as current, emerging or future security concerns and issues; how they see the effectiveness of current arrangements; and their recommendations for improving the ability of our region to address regional security issues.

My team has undertaken consultations on this and other regional policy issues in the Federated States of Micronesia several weeks ago, Nauru last week, and we will be holding similar consultations in Majuro and Tarawa this week, and in Palau next week.

I am very conscious of the specific security environment of the North Pacific. And so I

encourage your governments’ active participation in these consultations, and in the process of discussing policy options through the various official and ministerial processes in advance of the Leader’ meeting in September in Nauru.

Honourable Leaders, I would like to briefly mention a particularly innovative proposal that the Secretariat is progressing in light of a decision made last year by the Forum Economic Ministers – being a proposal for a Regional Financing Facility. 

We are currently consulting on the establishment of a Pacific Resilience Facility that focuses on resilient development in the region.

In its simplest form, the PRF is a dedicated effort by the Member States to take ownership of its resilient development agenda as outlined in the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific. The concept proposes four key products: private sector financing; community resilience financing; government financing and the option of a regional pool of funds for post-disaster recovery work.

If this concept is endorsed at the 2018 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting in Palau in April, this will constitute a significant shift in the region’s development paradigm.

I understand that my staff had very constructive discussions with officials in Palau last week on this proposal, and I am looking forward to being part of the consultations this week in Majuro.

Honourable Leaders, thank you again for the opportunity to participate in this important meeting.

President Heine, I wish you and your government and all the people of the Marshall Islands the very best for this week of significant meetings and events.

Thank you.  


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