REMARKS: SG Puna to Partners in Blue Pacific Ministerial Meeting

Thursday 22 September 2022



• Secretary Blinken and your Colleague Ministers of the Partners in the Blue Pacific, our hosts this afternoon
• Your Excellencies and Honourable Ministers of the Pacific Islands Forum Member States
• Ladies and Gentlemen

• Kia Orana and Bula Vinaka.

• I thank you for allowing me the honour to share a few thoughts with you all this afternoon.

• I believe that Hon. Prime Minister of Fiji and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum said it best when he described the 2050 Strategy as our northern star.

• It is our collective articulation of the future that we in the Pacific, want to achieve not only for ourselves, but more so, for our future generations.

• I commend the Partners of the Blue Pacific for its proactive approach to organising yourselves to support the successful delivery of the 2050 Strategy.

• Indeed, partnerships will be critical to ensuring the success of the 2050 Strategy but as alluded to by the Hon. Prime Ministers of Fiji and Samoa, it is absolutely vital that these partnerships are reflective of genuine engagement with the region and take into account our own regional plans and mechanisms.

• As we meet here in New York today, our colleagues at home in the region continue to work to develop a 2050 implementation plan that will outline how we will work together to realise the strong ambitions in this strategy.

• Excellencies, in our view, the 2050 implementation plan will drive the specific partnerships that we, as a region, will seek to form in order to realise the vision of the 2050 strategy.

• If any partnership in the region is to be successful, it must be respectful of our priorities, our concerns and our values.

• True partnerships must be responsive. Indeed, I am hopeful that we can also use this partnership to dialogue on and resolve key concerns in our region, including nuclear legacy issues in the Marshall Islands, as well we the imminent release of ALPS treated water in the Pacific.

• Yes, we are faced with daunting and multifaceted challenges, both as a region and as a global community.

• And yes, it is essential that we strengthen and streamline our development cooperation and financing efforts.

• However, in a region such as the Pacific, where relationships play such a fundamental role in every engagement, I cannot emphasise enough the importance that mutual respect and recognition play in the success of effective partnerships.

• To reaffirm the advice of the Forum Chair, if we are to ensure the success of the Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative, I urge us all to take the time to dialogue and bridge a shared understanding and way forward that is respectful of our objectives.

• I thank you.