Pacific Islands Forum Statement on Protecting the Pacific and Building Resilience at the High Level Political Forum 2020

Delivered by H.E. Samuelu Laloniu, Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations

8 July 2020

Madam Moderator, Distinguished Panelists, Excellencies,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum with presence here at the United Nations.

The climate crisis facing our Pacific Island nations and reoccurring natural disasters continue to threaten the way we live on the Blue Continent.  Against this backdrop, the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic are further threatening our food security, nutrition and climate resilience.

Robust and timely public health and border protection measures have, for the most part, protected the Pacific from the worst of COVID-19. These protection measures have also been detrimental to our small and isolated economies.

Small Island States share many traits, including a reliance on international trade and imported foods; vulnerability to climate change, natural disasters and external economic shocks; malnutrition; and high rates of diet-related noncommunicable diseases.

It is no longer business as usual. Countries are now considering ways to revive economic activity and production, with many Pacific economies facing the grim prospect of recession.

Within the Regional Economic and Trade Strategy for our Blue Pacific, several policies are being worked on ranging from regional investment and private sector frameworks, implementation of trade policy frameworks, e-commerce strategy, quality infrastructure, and aid-for-trade strategies.

We are also looking at climate smart agri-production methods, alternatives to packaging of products, reducing our carbon footprints, and identifying innovative processes for connectivity and climate risk analysis for value-chain interventions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the use digital platforms and mechanisms as a means for communication in our region. This has brought to the fore the need to establish and or strengthen e-commerce legislations across Pacific Island economies.

To advance our 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy the region would need to establish and secure the perimeters and boundaries. The Blue Pacific also needs established ocean data systems to inform our progress towards SDG 15 as we embark on the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

The Blue Pacific calls for Forum Members to work together as one Blue Continent. The Pacific Aid-for-Trade Strategy is designed to help Members articulate what the Blue Pacific means for economic and trade policy in the region, especially through the pursuit of sustainable and inclusive development.

Implementation of the 17 SDGs will promote Pacific resilience and must progress across the region, fulfilling the Blue Continent’s commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda.

I thank you.

-ENDS-

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