President of Nauru and Forum Chair, President Baron Waqa’s opening remarks to Forum Dialogue Partners

Forum Dialogue Partners Group Photo

Fellow Pacific Islands Forum Leaders

Honourable Ministers

Excellencies

Representatives of Forum Dialogue Partners

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the people and Government of Nauru, and the Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Pacific Island Forum Leaders session with Forum Dialogue Partners.

Nauru’s theme for the 49th Pacific Islands Forum is: “Building a Stronger Pacific – Our People, Our Islands, Our Will’. It recognises that the future of the Pacific will be determined by its people. It calls for greater Pacific regionalism to address our unique set of challenges and to determine and chart our own path to sustainable development. It calls for us to act collectively as the Blue Pacific, to deliver on our vision under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, and build a strong Pacific for all. 

While the Pacific region must drive and forge its own development future – Our People, Our Islands, Our Will – we cannot do this in isolation. In our ever growing globalised world and given the transboundary nature of many of the challenges we face – climate change, marine pollution, unsustainable fishing, transnational crime – partnerships and cooperation are vital to for building a strong Blue Pacific continent.

We are seeing increasing levels of political interest and engagement in our region, as part of a shifting geopolitical context. Building a Stronger Pacific is about maintaining our collective focus on achieving a region of peace, security, social inclusion and prosperity while realising opportunities to collaborate with likeminded partners – both traditional and new – in support of this vision.  

As Forum Dialogue Partners, you have demonstrated a long history of support and engagement in this region. Our discussions today provide an opportunity to reinforce and strengthen these partnerships, with a particular focus on strengthening regional security cooperation to ensure safety and security for all.

Our dialogue today will cover three focus areas – enhancing regional security cooperation; addressing climate change as a key security risk; and lastly, strengthening maritime security. For each focus area, discussions will be opened by a Leader from the Forum Troika – following which I will call on Dialogue Partners to make remarks in response, as well as opening the floor for remarks from my Fellow Leaders.