REMARKS: PIF SG, Henry Puna at the 56th CROP Heads Meeting

Delivered by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna

at the 56th Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) Heads Meeting

13 July 2023

Suva, Fiji.


Kia Orana  and Good morning Colleagues to our first meeting for 2023. Please accept my sincere apologies as it has taken us long to have our first meeting due to the increasing engagements both regionally and internationally.

This has indeed been a very busy half of the year so far, but it will only get busier with our many core meetings scheduled for later this year.

Notwithstanding our many competing priorities, I must thank you all for the great work you are undertaking in steering your respective organisations, and in finding the time to continue to support the Secretariat and most importantly, our Members. I thank you all for your dedicated support to the roll out of the 2050 Strategy, and the development of the Implementation Plan.

Colleagues, a lot of my time this year has been spent visiting Member countries, and in attending the many partner engagements and global meetings. It is clear to me that our Members have inundated and are struggling to cope with the demands of regional and international work.

Our Leaders want to see a more coherent approach in how we as CROP engage with their respective countries, and how we work together. In this respect, it would be worthwhile reflecting on how we as CROP Heads can work better together – including, opportunities for joint strategic planning, working towards a joint engagement calendar and how we can better harmonise our back end systems. There are probably some low hanging fruits that we can agree to work on even before the review of the regional architecture.

Since taking up the position of Secretary General of the PIF, it is clear that we are all stretched for capacity, and the only way to resolve this is by working better together in pooling resources, and in our engagements with Members and at the global level.

On a higher level, ensuring that our external partners recognize the centrality to the 2050 Strategy and the Implementation Plan, regional institutions, and aligning and filtering development cooperation through existing mechanisms is a key priority for the reminder of my tenure. This will only be successful if we as CROP agencies are united in our advocacy and messaging,

Our gathering today is important as we are 3 months away from the Forum Leaders meeting and I would also be keen to hear your key priorities, most importantly those that we need to raise with Leaders when we meet in Rarotonga.

Colleagues, we have a full agenda for us this morning but before I refer us to the provisional agenda before us, I wish to welcome Esala Nayasi, the new Deputy Secretary General to his first CROP meeting.

Thank you.




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