Delivered by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Henry Puna
at the Pacific ACP Leaders Meeting
8 November, 2023, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Thank you Chair, and again, warm greetings to you all.
Honourable Leaders, we are at the cusp of settling two instruments of regional significance to the Pacific – the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan tomorrow, and the new EU-OACPS Samoa Agreement in a few days later in Apia, Samoa.
Firstly, to our regional instrument – the 2050 Strategy and its implementation plan.
Leaders, you well know that the 2050 Strategy sets out our long-term vision and strategic approach to work together as a collective to achieve this.
Now, we have the 2050 implementation plan in place for your endorsement. This plan will consist of an initial timeframe to 2030 and will set out our short-term goals, outcomes, and regional actions. Added to this the Forum chair has also tabled the Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity initiative as a supplement to accelerate the 2050 Implementation Plan.
Secondly, to the Samoa Agreement and in this regard, it is crucial that the this and other EU instruments such as the Neighbourhood Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), well align with the 2050 Strategy Implementation Plan, and our regional mechanisms.
PACP Leaders, in this respect, you will continue to play a critical role in ensuring that our Partners align their cooperation frameworks, and activities, to our enduring and shared priorities.
Chair, your Forum Secretariat, together with the CROP family, stands ready to support these partnerships. I encourage you to discuss these issues with your CROP representatives this week, as they prepare to move from Strategy to Implementation. Institutional arrangements and resourcing remain high on the agenda.
Added to this the upcoming Review of the Regional Architecture must provide clarity on the persistent challenges we face.
A constructive and transformational review will require genuine political will, and I call on you to champion this important work in the months ahead, particularly with regard to the future role of this PACP grouping.
In this regard, it is worth considering that we are more than a grouping that convenes under our shared historical connection to Europe.
We are, in our own right, 15 Pacific Island Nations, with agency and power to determine our agenda; to deliver outcomes that reflect the priorities of the Pacific Islands and people we represent; and to offer better support to the pre-eminent Pacific Islands Forum.
I encourage you to empower and capitalise on the opportunity of this platform to go beyond EU matters, to truly achieve its untapped potential.
With these brief remarks, meitaki maata, and I thank you.