by PIF Acting Secretary General Manoni
at the Pacific Economic Sub-committee (PESC) Meeting (Hybrid)
Tuesday 7 March 2023
o Excellencies, Senior Economic Officials, Members of the Pacific Economic Sub-Committee.
• A very good morning and a warm welcome from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
• On behalf of the Secretary General, I would like to acknowledge the Chair of PESC, Ms Viran Brown, The Acting High Commissioner of Vanuatu to Fiji, for agreeing to Chair the PESC. I would also like to thank and acknowledge the former CERT Chair, Mr. Toflilau Lae Siliva, the Deputy CEO Ministry of Finance, Samoa for his able chairing and guidance of the CERT that has now transitioned to PESC following the out-of-session endorsement of the PESC ToR by FEMM.
• I also wish to acknowledge all of you here today and those joining online, for availing yourselves to attend the 1st Meeting of the PESC.
• This inaugural meeting of the PESC is an outcome of the 2022 FEMM where Ministers recognised the value of institutionalising a single, central platform to drive regional economic strategy formulation, coordination, and implementation of FEMM decisions. More importantly, the PEC will serve as a technical advisory arm of FEMM to provide oversight and ownership by members.
• We are aware of our respective socio-economic challenges and shifting regional as well as global geopolitical landscape that deepens the complexities and challenges that impede pathways for economic recovery. The outlook for the region continues to appear gloomy and whilst the current challenges exist the fear of not knowing when the next disaster or pandemic will occur necessitates the need to accelerate recovery mechanisms that build our resilience and prepare us for the future.
• Excellencies and Senior Officials, you will recall that in August last year, Forum Economic Ministers discussed these pertinent and pressing issues affecting our economies and these included the development of the Blue Pacific Economic Strategy, now renamed to Pacific Roadmap for Economic Development (PRED) in line with the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. They also discussed the CERT initiatives, social protection systems and fiscal sustainability, climate and disaster risk financing, EU Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions and Correspondent Banking Relationships.
• Of crucial importance is the need to provide oversight to the development of the PRED to ensure that the pathways to economic development are realistic, home-grown, and designed to suit the Pacific context. As today is the first meeting of PESC, the Secretariat will be providing updates on some of the key taskings from FEMM and members have an opportunity to deliberate and provide your valuable feedback on the issues in today’s agenda as well as to raise issues on any other Economic policy matters for the Secretariat’s consideration.
• It is therefore critical that members engage in the discussions and provide strategic guidance and advice on these policy matters provided by the Secretariat.
• With these few remarks, I wish us all fruitful deliberations today.
• I thank you all.–ENDS