Opening Remarks by the Pacific Islands Deputy Secretary General, Dr Filimon Manoni
at the Resilient Infrastructure Inclusive Dialogue in Implementing the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific
7 June 2023, PIF Secretariat, Suva, Fiji
Our PRIF partners
Our CROP colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of Secretary General Henry Puna along with our co-host the Pacific Region Infrastructure Facility, a very good morning and warm welcome to your Forum Secretariat.
The meeting today is timely given the work to develop the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent implementation plan. It is an opportunity to understand the linkages between what is happening in the infrastructure development space and the broader vision for our Blue Pacific.
Through this understanding, we can inform and strengthen the design of the next multi-year program for PRIF and the identification and development of collective actions for the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan in the context of resilient and inclusive infrastructure.
Infrastructure plays a key role in all aspects of our development and in our long-term vision for resilient peoples and communities. But the risk profile for our region shows extreme vulnerability and exposure to climate and disaster risk – and indeed 90% of our population live in coastal areas with some on elevations no higher than 5 meters and subjected to risks including storm surges and sea-level rise.
Increased migration and rapid urbanisation without proper planning, coupled with the challenges of natural disasters and climate change, place our people at higher risk of extreme poverty, inequality, food and water security, amongst other things.
Projections indicate that to maintain our growth, eradicate poverty and respond to climate change, our infrastructure investment requirement is approximately US50 billion over the period 2016 to 2030. And this is not inclusive of the costs of adaptation and retro-fitting of existing infrastructure to withstand the increased intensity of extreme weather events.
These are the realities that we must contend with if we are serious about becoming a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity.
Excellencies, in this context, our meeting today is about coordination and consultation among our key development partners and stakeholders, to ensure that we identify meaningful collective actions and approaches in infrastructure that are targeted, scaleable, and relevant to our region’s context.
And we must take on board the diverse contributions that inform what resilient and inclusive infrastructure is in the context of our region.
And, we must also remind ourselves that when it comes to infrastructure, implementation is primarily done at the national level, and so members, your views today are critical to ensuring that our interventions as PRIF and as PIF are relevant.
So with those words, I take this opportunity to thank PRIF for taking time to come to the region to hear from our stakeholders including regional agencies, civil society and of course member countries represented here in Suva.
At a time when this region is developing our first steps towards vision 2050, the opportunity to ensure that regional approaches across all sectors and agencies are harmonized is critical to ensuring the relevancy and effectiveness of our long term strategy.
With these few words, I wish everyone fruitful and constructive discussions.
Thank you. Vinaka vakalevu.