Welcome Address by Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
Virtual Launch of the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) Prospectus and Logo
Wednesday 12 May 2021–• The Honourable Kausea Natano, Prime Minister of Tuvalu and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, The Honourable Dr David Teuea Toatu, Vice President of Kiribati, The Honourable Inia Seruiratu, Minister for Rural, Maritime Development and Disaster Management, The Honourable Crossley Tatui, Minister for Finance and Infrastructure, Honourable Tevita Lavemaau, Minister for Finance, Ms Fekita Utoikamanu, the Under Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, Representatives of the Pacific Islands Forum, Representatives of the Forum Dialogue Partners and Forum Observers, Development Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen across the Blue Pacific region–
Good afternoon from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
It is my pleasure to welcome you all this afternoon to the launch of the Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF) Prospectus and the unveiling of the winning logo for the PRF. For me personally, this is a very gratifying moment indeed because it provides the necessary stepping stone for the global pledging conference for the PRF later this year.
As our Forum Leaders often remind us, climate change is the single greatest threat to our Blue Pacific region. Each year, more frequent and severe cyclones, floods, and king tides bear down on the Pacific, wreaking devastation and winding back years of development gains. Economic losses from climate-induced disasters are higher in the Pacific Islands than anywhere else.
At the same time, this is further exacerbated by the crippling health impact of COVID-19 and the fragile economic wellbeing of our people and region.
This makes the Pacific region highly vulnerable to recurring disasters. Some Forum Member countries are still recovering from climate-induced disasters that happened 4-5 years ago. And now they have been hit again by the COVID-19 pandemic and more recent disasters such as Cyclones Harold and Yasa.
Such an environment places huge challenges on Pacific governments to plan and achieve their development aspirations. It also imposes enormous pressure on government finances and systems, creating new challenges such as increased debt burdens as governments are forced to borrow every time disasters strike.
We in the Pacific realise that we have to come up with innovative sustainable solutions to our challenges. We do not have any time to waste. We want to be able to prepare. We want to be self-reliant.
And so, over the past two years, together, we have created the PRF, and today we are launching its prospectus and logo. The PRF is a unique, forward-looking Pacific owned and led initiative. It will provide small-scale grants for resilience building projects at the community level such as infrastructure and coastal protection projects.
In closing, let me extend my sincere thanks to our Forum Members and partners that have supported the progress of the Pacific Resilience Facility over the past years. In particular, I want to recognise the leadership of our Forum Chair, Tuvalu, and members of the PRF Technical Working Group, led by Cook Islands. I also want to thank Australia and New Zealand for their funding support for the technical development of the PRF.
I thank you–ENDS
Check Against Delivery, May 12 2021.