Delivered by Henry Puna, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum at the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Led Foreign Ministers Meeting on COVID-19
11 November 2021
Secretary Blinken, Excellencies, all protocols observed.
The Pacific is facing unprecedented times. Recovery will not be easy. But, Pacific people are resilient and we will come through, together.
We are dealing with a three-pronged crisis; COVID-19, climate change and natural disasters, and significant economic pressures.
The Pacific region took bold actions to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
While these measures saved countless lives, they also restricted links between Pacific nations and the world.
To address this, the Pacific Islands Forum established the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19. This enabled the movement of medical, humanitarian supplies and personnel across the region.
Equitable and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will be critical for our recovery. We must support the WTO TRIPS waiver initiative.
We are developing a regional digital vaccine certificate to enable our countries to re-open with confidence.
Our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Taskforce continues to provide assistance to Pacific countries, including subsidised freight assistance for small enterprises.
Excellencies, I urge you to work with us, through these Pacific designed and owned mechanisms.
No one must be left behind!
I thank you!
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