ACP-EU PSD Information, Knowledge Sharing and Networking
Opening Remarks by the Director Programmes and Initiatives, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat
16 December, 2019
Hon. Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mahendra Reddy
Assistant Secretary General, ACP Secretariat, Mr. Viwanou GNASSOUNOU
Representative of the European Delegation to the Pacific (TBC)
Representatives of the business communities in the Forum Island Countries
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor to welcome you to Fiji and for those coming to our shores for the first time, I trust you will find the time to enjoy our country.
Before I make further remarks, let me share our deep condolences to the Government and people of Samoa for the challenges they are facing with the Measles epidemic. The Secretariat acknowledges the efforts by our Member Governments with the help of WHO and other agencies, to combat the outbreak within their borders.
Honorable Ministers, distinguished delegates,
Over recent weeks we have witnessed several global events, the recent COP25 in Madrid, where the region is engaging and sharing with global leaders the Pacific’s collective solidarity and cohesive action on this climate crisis, for which our Forum Leaders have declared as “… the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific”.
These sentiments are continuously echoed not only at COP25, but similarly at the recent 9th Summit of ACP Heads of States and Government in Kenya. I highlight this here as you will all understand, climate change cuts through all cross-sectors of the community and economies, and similarly on our economic development aspirations as a Blue Pacific Continent.
Ensuring the right financial tools and policy mechanisms in place helps guide us in steering our economies with the changes anticipated in the future. The Secretariat is working with Forum Members through several policies on regional investment and private sector frameworks, implementation of trade policy frameworks, e-commerce strategy, quality infrastructure, and aid-for-trade strategies – by encompassing these within the Regional Economic and Trade Strategy for our Blue Pacific.
As we cast our eyes towards 2050, the climate crisis as we know it is changing the way we do business. It is affecting the regions resources within the blue and green economies, where we are now looking at climate smart agri-production methods, alternatives to packaging of products, reducing our carbon foot prints, and identifying innovative processes for connectivity and climate risk analysis for value-chain interventions. It is no longer business as usual, but securing and safeguarding our Blue Pacific Continent and leveraging our comparative advantage sustainably.
he regions’ private sector plays a crucial role in this regard and one that the Secretariat together with our partners, wish to strengthen further. The Forum Trade Ministers Meeting last held in 2015, and now earmarked for February 2020 in Suva, will help the region in terms of political guidance to trek positively towards the regions trade, private sector and investment developments.
Reflecting on our relationship with the European Union and as part of the ACP Group of States post 2020, I am confident that the foreseen 20 years, post 2020 will witness an even stronger and collaborative partnership for our region with the EU as well as intra-ACP.
Before I conclude, I wish to acknowledge the support of the ACP Secretariat and the EU in bringing this platform for the ACP-EU Private Sector Development Information, Knowledge Sharing and Networking to the Pacific region. It is a testament to the ethos our Leaders are continuously promoting in terms of collectivity, regionalism and integration.
Furthermore, I wish to acknowledge the support of the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Investment Fiji, Fiji Exporters Council and the Government of Fiji for hosting this Event. This collaborative efforts have resulted in a positive response and enthusiasm from the private sector in the region to this undertaking, and I wish you well in your deliberations.
I thank you.