Unified Pacific Islands Forum

Richard Butler | Exclusive Report by Hilaire Bule of Daily Post VU | AUG 12th, 2022

A united Pacific Islands Forum is an essential pillar for the Pacific to voice their mutual concerns and interests, regionally and globally.

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Ishmael Kalsakau made the remarks during the opening of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Port Vila yesterday.

He said the theme of the meeting — ‘Towards A Resilient Economic Recovery and Stability’ — is relevant in this time of uncertainty.

DPM Kalsakau delivered the opening remarks on behalf of Prime Minister Bob Loughman, who was not able to open the meeting due his late arrival from Saudi Arabia on Wednesday night.

“Let us stand united. Today we are faced with so many challenges,” he said in his address to the Pacific Islands Forum Economic Ministers.

“I commend our united efforts to voice our concerns internationally over the past many years until today. Our success was measured in the past as reflected by the successful Nuclear Free Pacific campaign in the 1980s. But let us not be complacent. Let us trust the ingenuity of our people and continue to strive for a better and safer Pacific region for our people.”

He told the ministers that the united effort and commitment, in collaboration with development partners is warranted and cannot be weary. Kalsakau said the risk of climate change to Pacific island economies is still brooding and threatening the livelihood of the people.

He added economies are still struggling to recover from the burdens brought forth by the COVID-19 and striving for positive growth.

“We are not the cause of the these major challenges, but we bear the burden.

“In the worst- case scenario, the de-risking in correspondent banking is not helping the global fight against the poverty alleviation and against socio-economic inequalities,” Kalsakau said.

“As if these were not enough, we must now deal with high food prices, inflation and supply chain breakdown.”

The DPM said any of these challenges has the ability to bring any region’s economies back downward, coupled with the current instability in Eastern Europe and the US-China tension

Kalsakau said in the face of all these challenges, the Pacific region has the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. This was endorsed last month during the Forum Leaders Summit in Fiji.

“We are proud that we have a regional strategy that outlines our long term vision to protect and secure our people, place and prospects,” he continued.

“I wish to bring your attention to the importance of the implementation of strategies.

“Without effective implementation, a strategy cannot create change and cannot benefit the people it is intended to benefit. The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent must be implemented.”

Kalsakau told the ministers that they must be committed at both the regional and international level. The DPM said development partners in the region must stand with the people.

“They must commit resources to foster the socio-economic wellbeing of our people, their dignity and livelihoods,” he said.