REMARKS: SG Puna welcomes UN Special Envoy on Oceans

Blue Pacific Ocean Event

Pacific Island Forum Secretariat

1 – 2pm Friday 14 October

Welcome Statement by Mr. Henry Puna

Pacific Ocean Commissioner & Secretary General – Pacific Islands Forum



— UN SG’s Special Envoy on Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson

Representatives of Forum Member Countries, Dialogue Partners, and wider Suva based Missions


Ladies and Gentlemen –

Kia Orana and Bula Vinaka!

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Ambassador Peter Thomson to the Secretariat this afternoon, and for all of us to collectively learn from him today.

· Indeed, the Ocean is a significant part of us – our culture, our identity, our livelihood and of course, our economy.

· It sustains us, it unites us, and it will be instrumental in charting our future as a region.

· Excellencies and Distinguished Guests –

· This year has been a good one for our work and advocacy on oceans. We have participated in countless meetings and dialogues over the year at Brest, Palau, French Polynesia, and Lisbon, alongside others.

· But the time is now ripe to begin crystallizing these dialogues and conversations into firm action on oceans governance and prosperity.

· The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent provides a strategic vision that, very importantly, recognises that the ocean and its resources are critical to ensuring that we as a region are able to develop and progress economically and socially, to achieve our long-term vision of peace, harmony, security and prosperity.

· My challenge to you all, as Advisers to your Leaders, to Member Governments and to the region – is to nurture a transformative shift in your mindsets.

· Focusing particularly on how we can conserve and sustainably leverage this great resource that we all share, for the betterment of our people and our future generations.

· In May this year, I visited a few school children in the town of Punaauia in French Polynesia. I was aptly reminded by a young child of our role as leaders in this generation: “you better work harder to save our ocean.”

· I promised her I would do all I can but more importantly, the Leaders of the region were doing all their can to realise her commitment and that of her generation.

· Excellencies and Distinguished Guests –

· With that in mind, let me turn to our guest today and take this moment to acknowledge, Ambassador Thompson, and all that you have done for us this year.

· Your engagement, your leadership, your stewardship of our regional efforts, as well as your advocacy for our ocean issues at the global level.

· Your ongoing support to our region, to our members, and to me personally, has all been greatly appreciated.

· And of course, we look forward to continued collaboration and with you as we move forward to progress the important work on the ocean, including at COP27.

· Meitaki ma’ata. Vinaka vakalevu, I thank you.–CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

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