Delivered by the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Henry Puna
at the 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Plenary
08 November 2023, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
The Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum
Honourable Prime Ministers
Heads of Delegations
My colleague Heads of CROP Agencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
Kia orana tatou katoatoa and a very good morning to you all.
It has, indeed, been a colourful few days of engagement, discussions and the rich display of Cook Islands culture and traditions, culminating in Forum Leaders discussions today and tomorrow in both the plenary session as well as the retreat.
If there is one thing that I have learnt from my brief tenure to date, it is the importance of ensuring that each of you, as Forum Leaders, have the time and the space to engage in and amongst yourselves on issues of critical importance to our collective aspirations and development, as a Forum Family.
Indeed, the format of the Forum Leaders Meeting this year, to convene both a plenary session as well as a retreat session, offers Leaders this very opportunity. With that in mind, I respectfully encourage you to use your retreat session to have honest and frank conversations on the range of issues facing the region today.
As we all continue to witness on a daily basis, there are a multitude of opportunities and complexities before us as a region, but key to capitalising on these opportunities and overcoming shared complexities is our solidarity as a region.
In this regard, the 2050 strategy frames how and where we can best work together. Supported by the implementation plan that you will consider today, we are, as a Blue Pacific Continent, moving forward from a stronger collective position. The 2050 IP articulates our collective actions for the next 7 years, and I am pleased that the Forum Chair has taken it upon himself to identify key actions under the Pacific Partnership for Prosperity to drive at the political level.
I am proud of the hard-work and the items before you today – covering climate change, gender, fisheries, nuclear issues, and trade among others. I wish you well in your deliberations both today and tomorrow.