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Opening statement by Chair of SIS 16th Summit
Smaller Island States Leaders Summit
Opening Statement by His Excellency Ludwig Scotty, President of  Nauru,
Nuku’alofa, Tonga
15 October 2007


Excellencies
Secretary General
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen


It is with honor that I Chair the 16th Summit of Smaller Island States Leaders.

A warm welcome to our other SIS Leaders joining us today.

A special welcome to Honorable Faipule Kalouei O’Brien, the Ulu of Tokelau and His Excellency Mr. Oscar Temaru, the President of French Polynesia.

It is my pleasure to acknowledge the presence of various CROP organizations.

This morning we will discuss a wide range of issues that are of importance to us, amongst them the Pacific Plan and Petroleum Import Issues. It has been two years since Leaders adopted the Pacific Plan very considerable progress has been made although we continue to face a number of challenges in its implementation. It is in this regard that I thank the Forum for its continued support of the SIS unit and its efforts in ensuring that SIS countries’ concerns and needs are given special attention. I am confident that this unit will assist us as we strive to achieve the goals enshrined in the Plan.

Colleagues, all of us here have received the letter from the Chair of our Officials’ committee. We note and, I am sure, acknowledge and appreciate the efforts our officials have made in trying to identify key issues that are pertinent to us, as Smaller Island States. I strongly agree that health is a key priority for us, especially in respect of Non-Communicable Diseases. We need to arrest the increases of NCDs in our small nations, as they will in the very near future, if not already, have devastating impacts on our societies.

Transportation continues to be of high priority for our small island nations. We need regular and affordable air services. We also need to ensure that shipping services to our nations serve us well. We are all aware that adequate transport remains a critical driver for our economies. We must strive to reduce the gaps and shortcomings.

We are all cognizant that efforts to secure equitable access to reliable and affordable energy is a key priority and to this end we must endeavour to provide and maintain the momentum, that has been achieved by our Energy ministers at their recent meeting to identify and propose strategies necessary to address our needs. We must continue to pursue the regional bulk fuel procurement through the framework agreement that was presented to us at our last meeting and insist that adequate resources are made available to do so.

I could continue to highlight the numerous challenges facing us, Smaller Island States, the time available to us over this busy week is limited and we have quite a large agenda for today’s meeting. I would suggest that we now proceed with the formal part of our meeting. In doing so, may I remind you that it would be in our common interest that we all participate in the discussions because the issues are quite important to all of us.

I trust that your stay here in Nuku’alofa is pleasant and that the work before you, not only at this meeting but other meetings throughout the week, is productive.

I would like to end my remarks with a heartfelt thank you to the SIS countries for their support and cooperation for this tenure as Chair of this meeting.

Thank you.