INTRODUCTORY REMARKS, FORUM SG HENRY PUNA
TO THE PACIFIC ACP LEADERS MEETING
THURSDAY 30th SEPTEMBER 2021.
Honourable Josaia Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji and PACP Chair
Excellencies and Leaders of PACP Member Countries
Representatives of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific
Ladies and Gentlemen
Kia orana, bula vinaka, good morning.
It is an honour to address you all today.
May I join the PACP Chair in welcoming you to this Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting as part of our 51st Pacific Islands Forum.
Let me extend my deepest thanks to Prime Minister Natano and the people of Tuvalu for the service and leadership to our region over the past two years.
The discussions and agreements reached in Samoa in February 2019 and reaffirmed in Tuvalu in August 2019 paved the way for critical regional progress, including the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and political momentum for the Post Cotonou Negotiations. This continues to affirm the mandate of meaningful regional work that delivers, and so I congratulate, and thank you.
Let me also welcome Fiji as the incoming PACP Chair and of the 51st Pacific Islands Forum. At such challenging times for our region and our world, we know we are in good hands.
Honourable Leaders, as you already know, these are indeed turbulent times for our Blue Pacific. Our long-term security and wellbeing will be determined by how we respond to the short and medium-term impacts of COVID-19, the climate change crisis and geopolitical competition.
Regional unity and leadership will be critical to chart the course of our Blue Pacific Continent, supported by international cooperation that is steered by our regional development aspirations and our regional mechanisms.
Honourable Leaders, your PACP officials met on 21 September – refining the issues and proposals for today’s deliberations– as we consider the new Partnership Agreement to guide our EU engagement over the next 20 years, and as we decide how best to work together as the PACP to drive our region’s future.
In this regard, our meeting is an opportunity for open and frank discussions on how we collectively respond to the sustainable development challenges facing our region.
With just one month to go until COP 26, our meeting is also a critical opportunity to discuss and amplify Pacific priorities for an ambitious COP 26, to ensure a 1.5 degrees Celsius world. We know that time is running out. We know we need ambitious climate change action now. We know that the meeting in Glasgow is critical for our Blue Pacific future.
We will keep reminding the world that climate change is our common existential threat, we are duty-bound to keep ringing the alarm bells for all to take heed.
I thank you Honourable Leaders and look forward to your deliberations on the agenda ahead of you.–ENDS
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY