REMARKS: Deputy SG Manoni welcomes Forum Economic Officials Meeting


10th August, 2022, Farea Conference Centre, Warwick Le Lagon, VANUATU


The Chair of the Forum Economic Officials Meeting.
Excellencies and Senior Economic Officials.
Representatives of Development Partners.
Distinguished Participants; and,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

• I am so pleased to be here in Port Vila, the first time in over three years that a major Forum Ministerial meeting will be held in person outside of Fiji. After two years of virtual meetings, I am sure we are all looking forward to engaging with each other over the next three days.

• Indeed, the pandemic has reinforced the value of coming together to talanoa face to face, especially at this critical juncture in our shared history, with the multifaced and unprecedented challenges we face as the Blue Pacific.

• Before I make some short remarks, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land where we are meeting. I would like to thank our host, the Government and the people of Vanuatu, for the exceptional arrangements, hospitality and courtesies accorded to all of us.

• Excellencies and Senior Officials, over the past two years our region has had to navigate and chart its course through some of the most challenging times, not only for us, but for the world as a whole.

• The socio-economic fallout of the pandemic, a complex geopolitical environment and the enduring threat of climate change and climate induced disasters – what has been declared by our Leaders as a climate emergency continues to drive and shape our strategic policy considerations.

• Coupled with the Russo-Ukraine conflict, the region continues to be susceptible to global shocks and trends, particularly, the continued increase in fuel prices, which in turn is driving rising costs of living across our region.

• These immediate challenges limited fiscal space and stressed national budgets, exacerbate Members coping capacities, as they endeavor to recover and ensure the viability of their economic systems as well as provide opportunities for their people to achieve economic prosperity and wellbeing.

• Notwithstanding the challenges of our time, we must embrace the opportunities they present. Opportunities to re-orient ourselves and strengthen our Pacific Way. To future proof ourselves, to build our economic resilience in order to enable us to face our economic challenges with dignity, and from a position of strength.

• Therefore, this 2022 Forum Economic Officials meeting is an opportunity for us to have a robust discussion on forward looking and innovative collective solutions that can boost economic growth across our Blue Pacific Continent.

• This is an opportunity for you, as Senior Officials and Economic Advisers to your Ministers and Governments, to reflect on how best we can leverage our collective strength to negotiate better terms for our economies globally.

• Our Leaders, through the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, have articulated their vision and aspirations of where they want our region to be in the next two to three decades. It is now our duty as Economic Advisers and Experts, to determine how we can best traverse the coming years, as a collective, to ensure that we have the right mechanisms, partnerships and means of implementation to achieve our Leaders vision.

• Our Leaders have given us the blueprint. It is now up to us to develop innovative and home grown solutions that are contextualized to our needs and priorities. These solutions must embrace our Pacific values and cultures, and more importantly, solutions that will deliver the impact where it needs to be felt – by our people in support of their livelihoods and wellbeing all across our great Blue Pacific Continent.

• As we look further into the future, we must not lose sight of the challenges that confront us today. Rather they should be the lenses we use to make sure that we build resilient and stronger economies in the future.

• Excellencies, Senior Officials, I encourage you all to proactively participate and engage in the discussions today, so that we develop a solid set of recommendations for our Ministers consideration in the coming days.

• Indeed, the future economic prosperity of our region, of our people, is in your hands.

• On this note, I wish you all successful deliberations and I look forward to the outcomes of the meeting.

• Thank you tumas.



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