Secretary General, Meg Taylor DBE, Remarks to the 47th Pacific Islands Forum Opening Ceremony State of the Region

Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

8 September 2016

Kaselehlie Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum and your delegations;
Distinguished Guests and Development Partners;

It is an honour to be here once more in the Federated States of Micronesia.
Let me acknowledge and pay respects to the traditional Leaders of Pohnpei on whose land we are holding these meetings, and this important event.
Allow me also to acknowledge President Christian and his Government for the excellent arrangements that have been made for this 47th meeting of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders.
I commend you Mr President and the people of FSM for accommodating us in Pohnpei, and I appreciate the warm welcome and hospitality that have been afforded to all of us by your people.
Honourable Leaders, it is a privilege to participate in my second Forum Leaders Meeting as Secretary General.
Let me acknowledge the fine work of the outgoing Chair, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Honourable Prime Minister, it has been a pleasure to support you as the Forum Chair and with your guidance we have achieved a lot in these past 12 months.
Honourable Leaders, it is with great certainty that I report that our tehn waratail, our vaka, our canoe is headed in the right direction – a direction that will lead us to deliver the ambitious vision for the region that you have set out in the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. That is, a region of “peace and harmony; security, inclusion, and prosperity”.
And in support of this vision, we have undertaken key reforms in collaboration with members to ensure that we have the enabling structure in place to deliver on your vision.
Allow me to outline some of the key reforms that have been undertaken in the past 12 months:

  • The first standing meeting of Forum Foreign Ministers was held a month ago in Suva, Fiji. This standing meeting will have bearing on the Forum architecture as we move forward. We must find the right calibration amongst all Forum meetings, to ensure they best support the region’s preeminent meeting – that of Forum Leaders.
  • Related to this point, we continue to work on identifying the right Ministerial and Officials meetings that will deliver on our priorities in a way that is strategic, cost effective and result in positive outcomes.
  • We are also working to ensure that the strategic alignment and resourcing of regional agencies supports the delivery of the regional priorities that you determine.
  • The Post Forum Dialogue will be reviewed and strengthened so that it allows for a clear articulation of our regional priorities to partners whose support is both genuine and durable.
  • Our efforts to prioritise the agenda that you preside over continue, and I will continue to work closely with your Officials and Ministers to ensure that you consider only the most important issues.
  • I am also overseeing a number of reforms within your Secretariat, so that it is able to deliver the policy and political advice required to support members.

Honourable Leaders, these reforms will ensure we have the right enabling structure in place to produce results against your high level vision for the Pacific Islands Forum region.
Because in the end it is results that matter most.
The past 12 to 24 months have seen us focus on the enabling structure, and ensuring that the regional agenda – your agenda – is prioritised.
And while that work will continue, we must now place great emphasis on inclusivity with civil society, the private sector and non state actors, and on delivery, on implementation, and on results.
Following your discussions this week, I will see to it that we spend the next 12 months working closely with members, regional agencies, and partners to intensify the implementation of the region’s priorities in fisheries, climate change, health, gender, human rights, economic growth, and across the 2030 development agenda.
Honourable Leaders, I am acutely aware that regionalism is not for its own sake. It will flourish or flounder on the basis of the results that it delivers to each and every one of our members. We have recent lessons from other regions to remind us of this truth.
So, I commit the resources of your Secretariat to focusing on the delivery of tangible results from our regional endeavours to all member countries in the next 12 months and beyond.
On this note, I also look forward to working closely with the incoming Chair, His Excellency President Christian, to advance the region’s priorities in this coming year.
Chair, your leadership will be crucial to ensuring that we progress this work, both within the region and on the global stage.
Honourable Leaders, as always, it is a pleasure to serve this great and vast ocean and its people.
I look forward to supporting you over the coming days, and I wish you well in your deliberations.
Thank you.

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