REMARKS: Acting SG Dr Manoni at the Sixth Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

Delivered by the Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dr Filimon Manoni

Sixth Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development

6 December 2022

 

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen. Good morning to you all.

It is my great pleasure to address you all at this sixth Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development.

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, the Pacific has shown serious commitment to its sustainable development pathway by localising the SDGs in the Pacific starting with the endorsement of the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development in 2017 by our Pacific Leaders, followed by the development of the Quadrennial and Biennial Pacific Regional Sustainable Development Reports in 2018 and 2020.

We have taken this commitment further by endorsing and launching our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, at the 51st Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in Fiji.

The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent sets out Forum Leaders’ vision, values, key thematic areas and strategic pathways for the future sustainable development of the Pacific region. Achieving this will require all partners to work together.

The development of the 2050 Strategy will posture our region well beyond the SDG’s hopes to strengthen and complement the journey to inclusive growth. The ultimate objective of all this is ensuring the well-being of all people of the Pacific, leaving no one behind.

Your deliberations over the next two days are all important as they will help to inform and prepare our members for the various SDG discussion platforms that lead up to next year’s New York UN High-Level Political Forum.

Your deliberations on

  • SDG 6 clean water and sanitation,
  • SDG 7 affordable clean energy,
  • SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure,
  • SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 17 on Partnerships
  • The SAMOA Pathway and
  • Lessons learned from our Voluntary National Reviews

will complement recommendations and findings in our Quadrennial and Biennial reports

[On SDG 6,] [Further to these issues,] our consultations and reports are recommending that an urgent and sustained response is required to address the region’s water and sanitation issues. There is a need for more accurate data and information to strengthen local capacities and secure, appropriate, and affordable systems with greater attention to the needs of isolated communities and vulnerable groups.

On [SDG 7] [energy], there is a need to strengthen partnerships for energy security and resilience in the region to address issues of

  • grid Readiness for High Penetration of variable renewable energy;
  • financial mechanisms for the sustainability of remote rural or island electrification;
  • enhancing Independent Energy Regulation through the Office of the Pacific Energy Regulators Alliance (OPERA);
  • strengthening the Productive use of Energy to Support Economic Growth; and
  • the development of Pacific Renewable Energy Standards for Hurricanes and Natural Disasters.

With regard to ongoing disasters, we need to be resilient, SDGs and voluntary national reviews show us our strengths, and it reminds us of where we need to work together as one community. We need to be efficient in how we rise to our challenges and move beyond change.

Working together is especially important, given that our current outlooks are filled with uncertainties attributed to the COVID-19 lockdowns in China, the Ukraine-Russia war, our debt levels, and the impact of global inflation on our economic outlook.

These uncertainties are now on top of existing uncertainties and ongoing climatic vulnerabilities associated with climate change, sea level rise, droughts, flooding, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

It is clear that our climatic vulnerabilities have increased with the notable increases in the frequency and severity of climatic and natural disasters that hit our Islands. Tonga and Solomon Islands’ recent earthquakes of magnitudes seven and above are recent examples of such severity.

On this note, please be mindful, and be prepared as we enter the cyclone season in the Pacific. We all know from our own experiences the significant impact of cyclones on our livelihoods, and our countries. What is sometimes not fully measured and reported after a cyclone is the psychological and social impacts that take a longer time to manifest in the community.

Often it is our most vulnerable that bear the brunt of such social adversity across our societies. We need to be mindful that our healing processes take time with ongoing support from adequate institutions and community social actions.

To strengthen such ongoing resilience to adversity, our collective effort to progress on our SDGs actions is important. Looking forward, actions today contribute to our “2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent” baselines and implementable actions. Work and actions on the SDG goals are therefore tangible actions towards the 2050 strategy’s thematic areas, levels of ambitions and pathways.

“We must not leave anyone behind”.

With these words, I wish you all a successful Forum, Thank you

[ENDS]