Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
23 May 2018
Good morning and a warm welcome to each of you who have been nominated by your constituent group to be a founding member of the Pacific Resilience Partnership Taskforce.
The composition of this taskforce is unique, embracing among other principles inclusion, under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and its equal representation is the transformational shift that is being sought to building a resilient Pacific region and peoples.
As you all know Forum Leaders – in 2016 endorsed the “Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific” and agreed to strengthening regional risk governance arrangements for its effective implementation under the “Pacific Resilience Partnership” and Taskforce in 2017. These decisions and the more recent decision of the Forum Economic Ministers in Palau taken late last month to develop a “Pacific Resilience Facility” are testament to the Pacific’s leadership, commitment and resolve to achieving risk resilience in and across the region, at all levels and for all.
BUT while the FRDP and implementation mechanism under the Pacific Resilience Partnership might be new and innovative – the climate change and disaster risk management issues and challenges that we are facing and grappling with are not new, they are not going away and in some cases they are getting worse.
Therefore it will require integrated, innovative approaches and solutions IF we are to build climate resilience and reduce the costs and impacts of disasters now and in the future. It will require us to think and act differently, within our constituent groups and with each other, now and in the future. It will require us to address the entire risk management spectrum and seek out the most appropriate risk management tools and instruments for us and for our situation.
Thinking and acting and working differently together, as a Taskforce and a strong, open-ended multi-stakeholder Pacific Resilience Partnership will without a doubt support the Leaders affirmation of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the Blue Pacific identity, which is the platform and core driver of collective action for building a resilient, peaceful, secure and prosperous region.
And while the Leaders have given us two years to demonstrate the utility of the new regional risk governance arrangements – I am of the firm view that we must make it work, as building resilience and ensuring that we are able to achieve our sustainable development aspirations is everyone’s responsibility and business-as-usual is not an option.
I wish this inaugural meeting of the PRP Taskforce the very best.