Bula and good morning to you all. To our senior government officials, Non-State Actors, and Suva based missions, welcome to your Secretariat. To our resident development partners including our friends that have flown in from Canberra, Wellington, Bangkok and New York, thank you for joining us and welcome to Fiji. We trust you will enjoy our warm Fijian hospitality.
At the outset, let me convey the apologies of our Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor, who is currently in Samoa attending another meeting in her role as the Oceans Commissioner. Access to, and coherence of financing for the Pacific, as well as building our capacities and partnerships to implement our development priorities, are issues that the Secretary General is very focused on, and we are delighted to partner with our friends from UNDP and UNDESA to host you.
Colleagues, 2015 was enormously significant in terms of global consensus on the kind of world we want and how we will go about achieving that world. 193 countries signed up to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, determined to leave no one behind.
We also agreed to the Sendai Framework, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Paris Agreement, three critical complementary global frameworks for development financing, and for climate and disaster risk and response financing and action.
Also importantly for us in the Pacific, last year, our Leaders in Port Moresby, made a commitment to the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Pacific calling for contextualising the 169 targets into what makes sense in the Pacific and especially at country level.
They also called for coherence in our approach to financing, implementing and monitoring the SDGs, as well as, the SAMOA Pathway and our Pacific Framework for Regionalism.
They recognised the importance of collective action and partnerships in delivering on the global ambitions by calling on development partners to support, amongst other things, effective partnerships and financing our efforts in the region.
These efforts will be supported through the integrated implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement and Sendai Framework for financing our climate and disaster risk and response development priorities.
In addition, the Pacific has since Paris in 2005 engaged at all levels on aid and development effectiveness through the Paris Declaration and now the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
All these global agreements while well intentioned can bring complexity and result in fragmentation of efforts if we do not ensure coherence and integration and make them work for us and not the other way around.
This is why are calling this meeting as the first official regional meeting in the Pacific that starts our collective conversation on the HOW to collectively deliver on our global, regional and national priorities in a coherent manner that suits our small administrations and realities.
The good news is, we are already on our way and moving quicker as a region and at national level than we did with the MDGs and the Mauritius Plan of Action, with many of our countries already in the process of integrating the SDGs, and in a few countries, also the SAMOA Pathway, into your national plans and budgets.
We are in the process of finalising a Pacific SDGs Roadmap for our Leaders to guide overall regional support to country implementation and monitoring. Some are now looking at a coherent national financing framework to help channel all the financing flows and opportunities to address national priorities as reflected in the SDGs and SAMOA Pathway.
The extensive Agenda ahead of you focuses on the overall current and emerging challenges in the region with respect to how we will fund our priorities and build effective partnerships for delivery including through the principles of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation of ownership, results, transparency and mutual accountability.
These issues are critical building blocks of our Pacific Leaders’ vision of sustainable economic growth and good governance in the region.
Colleagues, our region is at a point of flux, where global, regional and national priorities and processes including financing flows need to be integrated and coherently implemented to deliver on the goals of our Leaders and people of the Pacific.
With the increasing frequency, intensity and growing impact of natural disasters on our lives and economies, we are seeking and accessing more disaster preparedness, response and humanitarian financing and support.
With the Paris Agreement about to come into force and the Green Climate Fund now being accessed, we have the opportunity to access significant amounts of financing for climate action.
This workshop provides you the opportunity to contribute to this integration of priorities and processes for the betterment of the Pacific. The heavy responsibility of delivering on the lofty ambitions of our global and Pacific leaders starts with us, as the technical advisers, especially those in Ministries of Finance and Planning, and as key development actors as development partners, the private sector and civil society. The integration of these global ambitions into our financing plans and budgets is critical in ensuring that Pacific people enjoy quality meaningful lives: where all our children survive and thrive, have access to quality education and health services; where our youth have access to decent and meaningful employment; where our girls and women have access to the same opportunities in education and employment, where they are protected from fear, violence and exploitation; where our people in the rural areas and outer islands have the same opportunities as we do in the towns and cities; and where our incredible richness of natural and cultural resources both on land and in our ocean is valued, protected and sustainably managed not just for ourselves, but especially for our future children and grandchildren.
Together, we need to chart the way forward and provide the guidance to our Ministers, Leaders and development partners on harmonising the global, regional and national policies, and building responsible partnership for tangible deliverables. In short, your micro-decisions have macro-implications.
The decisions you make during this workshop on linking the SDGs means of implementation will resonate through the global partnerships for effective development processes and how effectively financial, technical and human resources are allocated, and where they are allocated, and for whom, linked to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.
This in turn determines the Pacific’s priorities in the global agenda and thus regional and national resources will be mobilised to achieve these envisaged priorities.
With these words, I would like to wish you a constructive and successful meeting.