No 2050 without education: SG Puna to Pacific Education Ministerial

Monday 20th March 2023, Auckland, NZ-– There can be no hope of achieving the 2050 strategy without Education, Forum Secretary General Henry Puna has told a Pacific Education Ministerial Conference.

Hosted in Auckland NZ, the ministerial has been told of the adoption of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, “as our region’s blueprint to work together to address our shared challenges and to achieve our common aspirations. In the context of significant geopolitical and climate change impacts on our region, the Strategy is our approach to shape the future in the way that we want,” SG Puna told officials and delegates at an official welcoming dinner.

In his keynote he stressed, “the placement of education at the heart of the 2050 Strategy is no accident. It is there because our Leaders recognise that education will be the most critical long-term factor in our achievement of the Strategy. Without education and capacity development to drive economic growth, we will remain dependent on others to finance our development goals. Without curricula that draw on the best of our traditions and cultures, we will never have the people to build climate resilient, Pacific-relevant, societies and communities. ”

He noted that without education the region “will not have the scientists and technicians to develop the approaches we need for a just and equitable transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewables-based economies – something which a number of our Pacific Ministers called for in cyclone-struck Port Vila last week.”

“Without education, we will never capitalise on our immeasurable ocean-based resources including our fishery, genetic materials, minerals, and renewable energy. Indeed, without education, the promise of the blue economy will, ironically, never materialize for us, the stewards of the Pacific Ocean– in short, without education there can be no 2050 future”.

He said it was important for the ministerial to “bring a renewed energy and focus to this important matter.”

The Ministerial has been organised by the USP-hosted Pacific Regional Education Framework Facilitation Unit, supported by the Global Partnership for Education and others. With the last held virtually in 2021, the new theme has been transformed into a more diverse and interactive format by host country and organisers.

“As we contend with the challenges of today and tomorrow, our 2050 future must start here and now – with a reinvigorated focus and investment in education and skills building across our Blue Pacific region,” SG Puna said as he rounded up his keynote address to the official dinner on day one.

The inaugural Conference of Pacific Education Ministers (CPEM) was hosted by NZ Education Minister Hon. Jan Tinetti. She was joined for portions of the meeting by Deputy Prime Minster Hon. Carmel Sepuloni and the Minister for Pacific People’s, Hon. Barbara Edmonds.

Under the conference’s theme ‘Empowering Education for Pacific People’, delegates have been sharing insights on what empowering education means for Pacific people and societies.

In her opening comments on Monday, Minister Tinetti had noted the meeting is the first face to face opportunity for Pacific Education Ministers to meet since COVID-19.

“When Pacific Education Ministers last met in 2021, it was agreed that the format of our meetings should change. This was to allow for more voices to inform our discussions and to have more time to speak with each other about our education priorities.

“Aotearoa New Zealand has attempted to reflect these decisions in the organisation and structure of this conference. We have included civil society, teachers, young people, and disabled peoples’ organisations, whose voices are very important to hear in any discussions we have,” Jan Tinetti said. —#ForumNews.

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