REMARKS: PIF SG, Henry Puna at the 2023 Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting

Opening remarks delivered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna

at the 2023 Forum Foreign Ministers Meeting

Suva, Fiji. 15 September 2023


• The Hon. Mark Brown, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands and Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum
• His Excellency, Taneti Mamau, President of Kiribati
• His Excellency, Russ Kun, President of Nauru
• The Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Prime Minister of Samoa
• Honourable Ministers of the Blue Pacific
• Heads of Delegation
• Excellencies
• Ladies and Gentlemen

Kia orana and ni sa bula vinaka.

I am so pleased to welcome you all again to this, your Secretariat.

It has been an incredible year for all of us and much has progressed on all fronts, since this august body met last year.

The agenda before us is comprehensive and is reflective of the increasing amount of work that is required to better position ourselves as a region, moving forward.

Strategic interest in the region is at an all-time high.

But it is an opportunity that will not last forever.

As a Forum family, we have withstood many challenges, changes and capitalized on opportunities over the last 53 years.

But this era, as one of our senior official summed-up quite aptly this week, this era is the Pacific century.

Let us not capitulate to external interests in the region, but rather, define and drive our own priorities in the interest of our people.

In essence, this is at the very core of our 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

If there is any advice that I can offer this august body it would be to engage frankly and honestly, and ensure that we leave here with clear agreements on the way forward on each of the issues we will discuss.

Your collective leadership is vital to our advocacy and solidarity.

Meitaki Maata, and I thank you.


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