Climate change remains the overwhelming challenge in the development pursuits of Smaller Islands States (SIS) within the Pacific Islands Forum.
In his opening remarks at the 20th Smaller Island States Leaders’ Meeting in Auckland, New Zealand this morning, Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said the key priority areas identified in addressing the long term challenges of SIS are not new.
“But they require refocusing and reenergising of efforts with the mobilisation and coordination of limited resources, so that the responses to those challenges become targeted and effective,” said Mr Slade.
The priorities identified for the SIS Leaders meeting include:
• climate change, in particular with respect to sustainable financing options;
• strengthening of development coordination;
• education and health;
• transportation, in particular sub-regional shipping services;
• trade agreements and labour mobility in the context of regional economic integration; and
• energy, with respect to renewable energy and bulk fuel procurement.
Gender equality and inclusivity of people with disabilities in development have also been identified as emerging issues in conjunction with regional priorities identified by Forum Leaders under the Pacific Plan for 2010 – 2012.
“Climate change remains the overwhelming challenge in our development pursuits. Since Copenhagen and Cancun the resulting pledges of increases climate resourcing, the region, through the Forum Economic and Finance Ministers meetings, has considered a range of appropriate and feasible options to better position Forum countries to access available global resources and to more effectively manage and account for the flow and utilisation of their resources,” said Forum Secretary General Mr Slade.
This has been complemented by the Forum’s own efforts to strengthen development coordination through the Forum Compact.
“The Forum’s Compact has progressed well and I am particularly pleased to commend the efforts of SIS countries, despite the known capacity constraints, to be at the forefront of the implementation of the Compact,” said Mr Slade.
The Forum Secretary General also highlighted the devastating impact of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on lives and the livelihoods of people in the region.
“I take this opportunity to note and applaud Palau’s leadership and efforts in declaring a state of emergency on the threats on NCDs.”
The Forum SIS includes the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. The SIS Leaders’ meeting is the first of Forum Meetings that will be convened in Auckland, New Zealand from today and until Friday. The SIS Leaders’ meeting will be followed by the Pacific ACP Leaders’ meeting this afternoon. The 42nd Pacific Islands Forum will be officially opened on Wednesday 7th September to be followed by the Leaders’ Plenary Session. Leaders go on their Retreat on Thursday 8th September to be followed by the Post-Forum Dialogue with the region’s development partners on 9th September. More than 500 delegates are expected in Auckland for the meetings with more than 175 media representatives.
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