Forum Leaders – UN Secretary-General Meeting
Conference Room 7
21 September 2019
Chaired by His Excellency Lionel Rouwen Aingimea M.P President
of the Republic of Nauru
Forum Troika Chair
Mr. Secretary-General, I wish to thank you for this annual dialogue on the margins of the High-Level Debate and it is an honour to address you on behalf of my fellow leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum.
Before we proceed may I kindly request that we take a minute of silence as a tribute to our fallen brother and fellow leader, the Prime Minister of Tonga, the Honourable ‘Akilisi Pohiva. The late Prime Minister attended the Forum meeting in Tuvalu, so we are truly saddened that he is no longer with us today. May his legacy and spirit live on.
Let’s be upstanding to observe a minute of silence in honour of the late Prime Minister Pohiva, thank you.
[Stand for the moment of silence- 1 min]
Resume seating and continue with the meeting.]
Thank you, Mr. Secretary-General, now I invite you to give your remarks.
[Secretary-General opening remarks finish]
PIF Chair Opening Remarks
Climate and Security
Mr. Secretary-General, thank you for your opening remarks.
Allow me to thank you for your visit to our region in May. I trust that you witnessed firsthand the severe threats facing our islands as a result of the adverse impacts of climate change.
Last month, Forum Leaders met in Tuvalu for the 50th Pacific Islands Forum and the theme of the meeting was, Securing our Future in the Pacific. This theme is a continuation of the Pacific stories and actions that help to shape our Blue Pacific identity.
It also speaks to the challenges we are facing in our region, with climate change, as the defining security issue of the century. Many dangerous impacts are now unavoidable, all of which are captured in the special report of the IPCCs’ on 1.5 degrees.
The recent impact of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas is an example of a more intense and frequent extreme weather event that will continue to undermine our survival and viability.
Protecting human security in an unstable climate requires unprecedented levels of international cooperation. Building climate-resilient systems that support peace and stability will take a concerted international effort and we believe the United Nations has an important role to play in this regard. The United Nations can bring forth a strong and effective multilateral response to the security implications of climate change.
Let me express our appreciation to you for convening the Climate Action Summit including the multi-stakeholder funding that enabled the participation of our Youths from the Pacific. We anticipate that these events will be a turning point towards a more ambitious and transformative climate action.
In Tuvalu, Forum Leaders endorsed the Kainaki II Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now that sets out our commitment for bold regional climate action and our ten priorities for urgent global action. It builds on the joint ‘Blue Pacific call’ from your visit in May and will form the basis for our collective engagement at the Climate Action Summit on Monday and COP 25 in December.
We reiterate our call for you to urgently appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security as reaffirmed in the Boe Declaration on Regional Security. The United Nations needs to respond to the challenges of the 21st Century to be able to take us forward towards a climate resilient and sustainable future for all.
Mr. Secretary General,
In recognition of the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage that will be held on Monday, we are concerned with the slow progress being made on health issues in Pacific.
NCDs are now the leading cause of death, disease and disability in our region. It accounts for 75% of mortalities in most of our countries.
The climate crisis will only serve to amplify both the challenges facing the health, capacities and capabilities to respond the needs of our people.
Health remains high on the Forum Leaders’ agenda and our national priorities as governments.
Means of Implementation
Allow me to reiterate an overarching point regarding our development challenges with respect to the means of implementation.
Conventional development strategies are not working in the Pacific. We simply cannot offer the returns on investments that can be found in much larger and less remote countries. We need a SIDS template, one that takes into account the special circumstances of SIDS.
Therefore, we look to the United Nations to assist us, access financing and be able to better utilise existing funds and attract new sources of funding to strengthen our capacities, institutions and increase our investments.
We are fully committed to achieving the goals under the 2030 Agenda, Samoa Pathway and the Paris Agreement.
What is needed most now is mobilising the required resources to implement our SDGs and NDCs.
The Forum Leaders have agreed to develop a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
As a Blue Pacific region, we will be working together over the coming year to develop our Strategy, for when we meet for the 51st Forum in Vanuatu next year.
At the same time, we will be reviewing our regional architecture to ensure we have in place the governance and resourcing arrangements needed.
We will consider how our regional architecture best interacts with the UN development system and the establishment of the new Multi Country Office for the North Pacific (namely for Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau and my own country- Nauru). I assure you of our full support in this regard.
During your recent visit to the Pacific, I trust that you have an appreciation of the vastness of the Blue Pacific Ocean. The ocean is the cornerstone of our Pacific economies. It is our livelihood. The ocean is not what separates us but it serves as a common thread that binds our region of islands together.
On BBNJ, we envisage that the new instrument will help us meet the challenges and threats facing marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction in order to achieve our vision of a healthy, productive and resilient ocean.
As stewards of the ocean, we believe that the new instrument should add value to the existing ocean governance in areas beyond national jurisdiction and must serve as a robust and forward-looking instrument.
Allow me to give the floor to my colleagues who will make their interventions. And I would remind colleagues, that interventions should not exceed the given time limit of three minutes.
Firstly, I invite His Excellency President Tommy E. Remengesau Jnr. of Palau,
(N.B Will speak on Ocean, Climate Action Summit going into COP25)
I now invite His Excellency President Taneti Maamau of Kiribati,
(N.B will speak on extreme vulnerability of low-lying to impacts of climate change and urgent need of assistance for Atoll Adaptation)
I now invite His Excellency President David Panuelo of the Federated States of Micronesia, you have the floor, (N.B will speak on ocean and marine litter/plastics)
I now call on His Excellency Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegoai, of Samoa (speak on Samoa Pathway)
Finally, I invite on His Excellency Prime Minister Chalot Salwai of Vanuatu (N.B will speak on West Papua and LDC graduation)
Mr. Secretary-General, I thank you for your attention and I invite you to make any responding remarks.
(Thank the SG and close the meeting IF NO delegation requests the floor.)
I take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. Secretary-General and we look forward to seeing you again next year at our annual dialogue. I wish everyone a successful High-Level week and now I close the meeting. God Bless you all. Thank you.