Opening Remarks by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna
at the Smaller Island States Officials Meeting
11 September 2023
Excellencies and Senior Officials of our Smaller Island States
Ladies and Gentlemen
Kia Orana and a very warm welcome to your Secretariat this morning.
It is always a pleasure to host our members here, and indeed, this week will see a comprehensive scope of issues discussed amongst the membership, beginning with this Smaller Island States Officials Meeting today.
I think you would agree that the region, and indeed the SIS, has come through a range of complex challenges in the last 5 years.
We have survived a pandemic, we have grappled with high levels of economic uncertainty, we continue to weather the intensity of climate change, we have withstood some of the most sensitive political challenges and through it all – we have worked together as a Forum Family to develop a long-term vision through the 2050 Strategy of the Blue Pacific Continent.
Now, we cast our efforts and resources behind the development of the 2050 Strategy Implementation and Monitoring Plan which will guide our collective efforts towards the achievement of our Leaders vision.
At this juncture, allow me to acknowledge with sincere appreciation your efforts and contributions to these processes – I recognise that it required significant investments from your small administration, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to our collective efforts.
Your meeting today is a valuable opportunity for you to discuss how you wish to position the SIS Grouping moving forward, recognising the evolving regional processes that are ongoing as well as the imminent review of the regional architecture.
If there is one thing, I am sure of, and based on my experience, I would offer this reflection:
The 2050 Strategy and the 2050 Implementation Plan are our guiding documents as a region, moving forward.
We should all direct our collective efforts towards this vision.
The question is whether there is a way to integrate the recognition of the unique vulnerabilities of the SIS in the means of implementation?
If so, what would this look like?
I urge you all to be frank and constructive in your exchanges today. It has been some time since this grouping has met and I urge you to utilise this opportunity.
With those few remarks, I thank you.