Opening Remarks by Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor to the 2018 Forum Economic Ministers

Dame Meg Taylor at the opening session of the 2018 FEMM

26 April 2018

Palau International Coral Reef Center

Koror, Palau

  

The Vice President of Palau, the Honourable Raynold B. Oiluch

Honourable Ministers

Senior Officials

Development Partners and Donors

Distinguished colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Alii! It is wonderful to be back in Palau and to be with you all for this twenty-first session of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting.

I take this opportunity to acknowledge the guidance of the outgoing FEMM Chair, the Honourable Sili Epa Tuioti and the FEMM Troika, over the last 12 months.

I, personally, believe that we have undertaken significant work since the last FEMM in April, 2017 in Suva, Fiji and this has included the development of the proposal on the Pacific Resilience Facility – a core paper for your consideration and decision today.

In addition, the meeting will also consider a proposal for a Pacific Islands Climate Change Insurance Facility – a proposal arising from the 2017 decisions of Smaller Island States.

Honourable Ministers, the Pacific region remains at the forefront of the impacts of climate change and we, as a collective, need to continue to explore innovative solutions to address our most critical challenge.

This year’s theme Building economic resilience of Pacific Island Countries through sustainable financing flows signals the need for a new financing and governance architecture to build resilience in our Pacific region.

Today you will consider policy recommendations that have been developed on the principle of regional ownership and regionally tailored solutions to our climate-related challenges. Building climate resilience is now a must in our region and we must remain fully committed to this ideal to ensure the futures of our children.

We have all experienced the heartache of rebuilding economies and communities devastated by disasters. This, coupled with a rapidly evolving world with an increasingly fluid financing architecture, reaffirms that it is imperative that we identify regional financing solutions that are tailored and embedded to address our unique circumstances in a sustainable and predictable manner.

Recent experiences and challenges faced with the loss of correspondent banking relationships due to de-risking are a reminder of the risk we face with our ongoing dependency on external financing mechanisms and modalities.

To this end, the proposal on the Pacific Resilience Facility seeks your support and more so, your ownership. It is a demonstration of the Pacific region’s preparedness to take on its challenges in a considered and effective manner.

Honourable Ministers, the decisions you make today can signal a significant and fundamental shift in the way that we, as the Pacific, define ownership and responsibility of our own disaster resilience agenda.

I wish you well in your deliberations.