Pacific Islands Forum Deputy Secretary General
Dr Filimon Manoni
to the Pacific Youth Summit 2022
20 October, Japan-Pacific ICT Centre
• The Honorable Simon Kofe, Minister for Communications, Justice and Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu
• Professor Pal Ahluwahlia, Vice Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific
• His Excellency Brian Jones, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom to Fiji
• Her Excellency Charlotte Darlow, High Commissioner of New Zealand to Fiji
• Mr Levan Bouadze, Resident Representative of the UNDP Pacific Office
• Our youth of the region
• Ladies and Gentlemen
• At the outset, allow me to convey the sincere regrets of the Secretary General who was to have joined this conversation today, but has unfortunately had to extend his mission to Brisbane.
• Nevertheless, I am very pleased and honoured to take up the privilege of joining you all at this second Pacific Youth Summit to share a few brief reflections ahead of the very full and substantive discussions you will have over the course of the day.
[Pacific Youth Summit]
• Indeed, it is gatherings such as these that really bring out innovative perspectives and positions that engage with and challenge the status quo – and we must protect and enhance these spaces and dialogues for this very reason.
• I believe the single most important thing that we in our generation can do today is to help and prepare the next generation – that is all of you– our youth, to support your leadership journeys. This will also encourage those who are still deciding, or have not yet discovered that calling, to ‘take up the baton’ of leadership.
• Leadership in all sectors, but most especially in politics and business. We must nurture and grow your energy and appetite to change this world for the better. To challenge the status quo. To make a lasting difference for our people.
[The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent]
• I am confident that we are all aware and have read the recently endorsed 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
• Endorsed by Forum Leaders in July, it is our blue-print for regionalism – to guide how we shape and progress our collective priorities as a Forum Family.
• The Strategy articulates our Leaders vision for the region, it reaffirms our values as a collective and it cements our collective commitments to 2050 that draws on 7 vibrant and important thematic areas.
• The Strategy is our way forward.
• The onus now is on us, and you our upcoming Leaders, to realise the vision and levels of ambition that we have all committed too, as a region.
[The Challenges of Today]
• This will not be an easy journey. But it is an essential one.
• The climate emergency that we are all faced with, demands urgent action now. Most nations have failed to be as ambitious as they need to be to ensure that our future generations have a future in their homelands and islands.
• I welcome and encourage the very strong advocacy of our youth on climate action. Indeed we, and more importantly, you, have a right to be frustrated. You will inherit this cataclysmic problem that is not of your making.
• This is a global problem. However, I also recognise that we are living in a time when international cooperation has somewhat weakened – partly because of the pandemic and partly because of the rise of nationalism. However, this must not diminish the strong leadership and advocacy that we play at the global level.
[Theme: Stepping up for corruption-resilient 2050 Blue Pacific]
• In that spirit, I welcome the very focused dialogue that you have outlined for your discussions today. And I thank you for including the Forum Secretariat in your sessions – I am sure that my Team will learn from your invaluable perspectives to inform, how to better shape and sharpen our policy advice as an institution.
• I encourage you all to be frank. Be constructive. Be honest.
• As I alluded to earlier, you are the primary asset for the future, and it is our duty to ensure that you are well equipped, knowledgeable, and prepared to take on the baton of leadership at all levels of society.
• Kommol tata and I wish you all well in your deliberations. –END.