REMARKS: PIF SG Henry Puna at the Joint Independence Day celebration for Palau and Tuvalu

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

at the Joint Independence Day celebration for Palau and Tuvalu.

6 October, 2023, Suva. Fiji.




Senior Officials,

Distinguished guests,

Bula Vinaka, Alii and Fakatalofa atu as we once more gather to celebrate the moments which have defined nationhood, and the birth of a region.

And with each moment of statehood and sovereignty this region gained, the momentum towards the founding of regional strength and the Pacific Way grew. If the walls of our buildings could talk, they would share some memorable stories of Pacific regionalism, and the people, who have gathered as we are doing, to progress the vision of a better life for our people.

So Honourable Ministers, excellencies, and friends– its very special for us, as your regional servants of your Forum secretariat, to be able to extend a warm and respectful welcome to each one of you present here today at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. We gather today, on the occasion of the joint Independence Day celebrations for both the Republic of Palau and Tuvalu, on October

I extend my sincere greetings to your Excellencies, Senior Officials, distinguished guests, and friends.

In the month of October, we commemorate the independence anniversaries of four of our esteemed Member countries: As well as Tuvalu and Palau whom we celebrate today, Fiji marks its 53rd anniversary of independence on the 10th of October and Niue its 49th, on the 19th October, when our nations will again gather here for the Special FOC.

This tradition stands as a testament to our freedom as sovereign states. These occasions also serve as poignant reminders of the sacrifices made by our forebears, the foundation upon which our independence and freedom stand today.

Today’s celebration is particularly meaningful in the presence of our esteemed Trade Ministers and Senior Officials, who have convened for the Forum Trade Ministers Meeting. We owe this celebration to the vision, resilience, and determination of those who came before us, paving the way for our freedom and the prosperity we enjoy today.

As part of our social responsibility, the Secretariat acknowledges, celebrates, and reflects on the challenges and triumphs of our member countries. Today, we stand united in celebration.

I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Government and people of Palau on your 29th Anniversary, to Tuvalu on your 45th Anniversary, Congratulations!

May the years ahead be filled with continued prosperity, security, and good fortune.

It is my distinct honor to especially welcome our key national speakers for this occasion. Honorable Minister for Trade of Tuvalu, Mr.Kitiona Tausi, and the Head of Delegation for Palau, Mr Robert Tarkong as they  offer their reflections.

Thank you,Fakafetai Lasi, and Meral mesulang .


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