- On behalf of the Secretary General as well as in her capacity as the Pacific Ocean Commissioner, a good morning and warm greetings from your Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner. I thank the International Partnership for Blue Carbon for the opportunity to address this important regional forum that underscores the value of Coastal blue carbon ecosystems — including mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses — for addressing climate change and securing social, economic and environmental outcomes.
- Improved management of these ecosystems can enhance food security, livelihoods, and coastal resilience, and contribute to delivering Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement through carbon sequestration and adaptation. Our participation today is the continuation of a long engagement between the Forum Secretariat, the Australian Government and the International Partnership for Blue Carbon having been engaged in past meetings and being part of the initial group that established this initiative.
Forum Theme: – Building a Strong Pacific: Our People, Our Islands, Our Will
- I have just returned from the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru with the theme of ‘Building a Strong Pacific: Our People, Our Islands, Our Will’. The theme recognizes that it is we, the people of this region, who will determine the future of our islands and the development path that our individual nations and region as a whole take. Importantly, as the custodians of the largest global climate regulator, carbon sink, and most diverse and bountiful oceanic biodiversity and resources on earth, our collective Pacific stewardship goes beyond our people to global planetary functions and sustainability of human development.
- Recognising the globalized and inter-connected community that we live in, including the structural, global and transboundary nature of the challenges that hinder but also hold opportunities for our development, developing genuine and durable partnerships at all levels at global, regional and national levels are crucial. It is about all of us working collectively to forge a future that is beneficial to the peoples of our nations, our islands, our world as a whole.
- I trust this forum will expand and strengthen your networks to better deliver on the national priorities, and that you will continue to build your capacity to be able to contribute also at the regional level.
Blue Pacific – collective action for a stronger Pacific
- The Leaders’ theme this year further enhances their affirmation of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and the Blue Pacific identity, which are the platform and core drivers of collective action for building a resilient, peaceful, secure, sustainable and prosperous region.
- The Blue Pacific narrative reinforces a common stewardship of our natural capital, emphasizes people-centred development approach and acting collectively for the good of all rather than a few.
- The Pacific Islands Forum has also been instrumental in advocating the protection and recognition of the Pacific Ocean at the global level such as the recent championing and adoption of SDG14 as a stand-alone goal in the Development 2030 Agenda. In earlier years of the Forum, Leaders engaged globally on The Law of the Sea and on driftnet fishing, in order to advocate for the protection of their shared ocean resources. These examples show that exercising a common sense of identity and purpose linked to the ocean has been critical for protecting and promoting the potential of our shared Pacific Ocean.
- The Blue Pacific narrative further refocuses our thinking towards more integrated, innovative approaches and solutions. In order to deliver inclusive, resilient and sustainable development, it requires that we work together, we challenge siloed approaches to problem solving and we work more coherently across the multitude of stakeholders recognizing and enhancing their role and contributions towards our development aspirations – this is relevant to the deliberations of this forum – multi-stakeholder partnerships for sustainable development.
Pacific Resilience Partnership – multi-stakeholder partnerships for a resilient Pacific
- Emphasizing further the value of partnerships, Forum Leaders – in 2010 and 2016 respectively, endorsed the “Frameworks for a Pacific Oceansacpe and for Resilient Development in the Pacific” respectively. These agree to strengthening regional ocean governance and regional risk governance arrangements under the partnerships of the “Pacific Ocean Alliance” and “Pacific Resilience Partnership” and its Taskforce established in 2017. In the case of the PRP the composition of its taskforce is unique, embracing among other principles inclusion, reflected in its equal representation of civil society and the private sector alongside government, regional agencies and partners.
- Both represent a transformational shift recognizing the multiple interests and stakes and the need to build on strong and open-ended multi-stakeholder partnerships. They recognizes that realizing our sustainable development aspirations is everyone’s responsibility and that includes government, civil society, the private sector, the community, development partners – all of us who here today and those within our networks and constituent groups.
- The 2030 Agenda, the S.A.M.O.A Pathway and the Framework for Pacific Regionalism recognize the centrality of collaborative, genuine and enduring partnerships in the achievement of our sustainable development goals with their successful implementation highly dependent on inclusivity and the broad alliance of support, commitment and ownership by all stakeholders.
- I commend the International Partnership for Blue Carbon and stakeholders for this initiative – it is not always easy to get everyone together, moreover if it involves a broad spectrum of stakeholders who traditionally have not always worked as closely and coherently as we would want them to be. These type of platforms provide an enabling environment to promote such partnerships and take this opportunity to acknowledge the Australian Government funding assistance that has made this initiative possible.
- I wish you the very best in your deliberations and thank again the organizers for the opportunity to participate.