41ST PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM
PORT VILA, VANUATU
3 – 6 August 2010
PRESS RELEASE (66/10)
3rd August 2010
The issue of climate change and its adverse and destructive impact on the Smaller Island States( SIS) of the Pacific Islands Forum will feature high on the agenda of the 19th SIS Leaders’ meeting which got underway in Port Vila, Republic of Vanuatu today.
The SIS Leaders’ meeting is the first of a series of Forum Leaders’ meetings that will be held over the next few days. The Pacific ACP Leaders meeting will also be held today. The 41st Pacific Islands Forum will be officially opened tomorrow to be followed by a plenary session. The Forum Leaders Retreat will be held on 5th August to be followed by the Post Forum Dialogue with the region’s development partners on 6th August.
In his remarks at the opening of the SIS Leaders’ meeting, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Tuiloma Neroni Slade said the long term challenges of SIS are not new, but they require refocusing of efforts and the mobilization of limited available resources, so that the responses to those challenges are effective.
The SIS priorities include:
• transportation, in particular sub-regional shipping services;
• labour mobility in the context of regional economic integration;
• energy, with respect to renewable energy and bulk fuel procurement;
• sustainable financing options for concrete climate change projects at the national level: and
• strengthened regional meteorological services.
There are also some emerging issues for SIS including food security; development coordination; gender equality and the inclusivity of people with disabilities in development.
But Forum Secretariat Secretary General Mr Slade said: “The key priority for the SIS is climate change and its adverse and destructive impacts on the SIS, in particular the impacts of sea level rise on the low lying atoll island states of the Pacific who happened to be all members of the SIS.
“At this time last year, we were positioning ourselves for a global exchange in Copenhagen, on how we as citizens of the world could do a better job in addressing the issue and impacts of climate change. The global community, however, failed to deliver on the high expectations leading up to Copenhagen,” Mr Slade said.
“But the disappointment of Copenhagen should not be allowed to distract our efforts and focus on seeking a global solution to addressing climate change. Today we again stand at the same crossroads, looking ahead to the next global exchange on climate change in Cancun, Mexico.”
The SIS Leaders are expected to discuss how the Pacific as a region can consolidate its efforts and strengthen a Pacific region’s position to take forward and ensure that the region’s voice is not just heard, but makes a difference in Cancun.
For media enquiries contact Mr Johnson Honimae, the Forum Secretariat’s Media Officer on phone 678 5664721 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org