REMARKS: Forum Chair opens Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting




8 July 2022


  • Honourable Ministers and Special Envoys of the Forum Member States, Associate Members and Forum Observers
  • The Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum
  • Senior Officials
  • Representatives of the CROP Agencies
  • Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Ni sa Bula Vinaka, it is my greatest pleasure to welcome you to the 2022 Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting.
  • This year’s agenda is structured around the most topical and decisive issues for our region. Today we will take on the task of deciding on issues such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent (2050 Strategy), the Suva Agreement, climate change, the Rarotonga Treaty and related nuclear issues, climate change related sea level rise and maritime zones.
  • As such, Honourable Ministers, I’m glad that we are able to convene this meeting in person to allow for more inclusive and comprehensive discussions in the Pacific Way.
  • Today, instead of being separated by screens, many of us connected here in person today and I want to welcome you to Suva.
  • We can sit together at this table and get to the heart of the matters which are critical to our region. This face-to-face meeting gives us an opportunity to be clear where clarity is needed, to understand each other and to provide flexibility where needed……and where necessary to step out and Talanoa or take a few bowls of kava when we need to paint the picture with more clarity.
  • Honourable Ministers, the agenda before you begin with an opportunity to think critically about broader global and regional trends including geopolitics, as well as our own region dynamics within this context we need to ensure that we build on our own solidarity as a Pacific Family and to set ourselves on the right course for our people and for the Blue Pacific Continent.
  • Furthermore, we will deliberate on the 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent (2050 Strategy). The 2050 Strategy is a critical element in our regional work and is placed to be the ‘north star’ of our future national and regional policies and development.
  • Subsequent agenda items also invite us to review our institutional processes here at the Secretariat. We will deliberate over the Report of the Forum Officials’ Committee on the Appointment Procedures for the position of the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum and the implementation of the Suva Agreement.
  • Honourable Members the Suva Agreement, as you know, is a political commitment to resolve our impasse and keep our family together while at the same time implementing some reforms that have been sought by a some of our Family members. Like all families, we sometimes go through a rough patch, but our strength lies in our resolve to work together as one Blue Pacific Continent.
  • It is therefore with heartfelt appreciation that I acknowledge the efforts of our Leaders who, in the interest of the region and our greater good, agreed to come back to the table, and through the Pacific Way, and agreed to a solution for the benefit of our people and our region —- the Suva Agreement.
  • History has shown that the Pacific Islands Forum has been at its best in moments of challenge, when our solidarity and resolve have been both necessary and tested. Rest assured that the Forum and its Secretariat will emerge from our current challenges with a renewed vigour to serve its members and to serve our people.
  • Reflecting on the full agenda for the day, Honourable Ministers, we certainly have our work cut out for us……. the challenge before us is to unpack some of the most topical issues of our time, we stand at the cusp of the rise and fall of our region and for now and provide direction that that will appropriately determine the future regional landscape and the Forum’s priorities.
  • As such Honourable Ministers, let us seize this opportunity and approach this meeting with open minds and take on the true Pacific Way by engaging at this meeting with a willingness to share ideas, participate in constructive dialogue and provide flexibility where needed.
  • Honourable Ministers, noting your respective demanding schedules back home, I will conclude by thanking you for making the time to join us here today and I wish you all the best for what I hope will be free and frank deliberations. –ENDS


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