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H.E PRESIDENT RATU EPELI NAILATIKAU CLOSING REMARKS AT THE 3RD PACIFIC ISLANDS DEVELOPMENT FORUM DINNER

Your Excellencies,
The Heads of State,
Honourable Heads of Government,
Honourable Ministers,
Your Excellencies the Ambassadors and High Commissioners
The Commonwealth Secretary-General
The Heads of Delegations,
The Representatives of Pacific Organisations,
The Representatives of our Development Partners,
The Representatives of International Organisations,
The Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening, ni sa bula vinaka, salaam alaykum, namaste.

I warmly welcome you all tonight at the end of this very successful 3rd Summit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

Please allow me to congratulate you all for the extensive and fruitful dialogue over the past three days on as fundamental a theme and mission as “Building Climate Resilient Green Blue Pacific Economies”.

You firmly launched your dialogue this week by acknowledging the challenges we collectively face as a pacific family in the blunt reality of climate change.

You identified the leadership necessary in transforming these challenges into opportunities to our advantage.

You explored avenues for partnership that expands beyond existing realms, including south-south cooperation between and amongst ourselves as Pacific people, as well as those with our development partners.

You also welcomed the call for innovation in championing “outside the box” thinking in the crafting and implementation of strategies to strengthen the resilience of Pacific people.

For the first time for many of you, the subject of “climate-change-provoked-migration” was discussed in the Pacific dialogue style of “Talanoa”. To label it “climate-change-induced-migration” is to accord it a charming and irresistible quality that it does not deserve.

The Talanoa session encouraged a shift in your thinking paradigm that the issue of “climate-change-provoked-migration” is no longer a question of “whether or not to”.

It must now be a question of “when, where and how best to”. It is a question of basic survival of members of our entire Pacific family that we need to collectively take ownership of as we together strengthen our resilience.

In this way, apart from the normal outcomes statement of this 3rd Summit, the Suva Declaration is the first assertive call by the people of the Pacific on the responsible global citizenship of the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – or COP 21 – to be held in Paris this December.

The Suva Declaration is a call by the Pacific family for human solidarity in the survival of our Pacific species.

It is a joint call by the Pacific Governments, Pacific Private Sector and Pacific Civil Society of the Independent Pacific Island Countries and Pacific Island Territories and is thus a significant and exemplary hallmark of genuine inclusivity.

the more conscious we are of the seeming overlap and repetitions that the Suva Declaration would notably share with similar declarations from other Pacific groupings, the greater our quest should be to ensure that these overlaps are strengthened in their complementariness and underlying consistencies with a convincing sense of urgency.

Lastly, Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates, I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to you all for having collectively endorsed at this Summit the Pacific Islands Development Forum Charter. Let us celebrate this as a milestone for PIDF today.

Let us be assured of the importance and necessity of walking together with common purpose – the Governments, Civil Society Organizations and the Private Sector.

I wish you all a safe return to your respective destinations. I look forward to continuing our dialogue and constructive engagement beyond this Summit and into future PIDF meetings.

Thank you, vinaka vakalevu, sukria, bahoot dhanyavaad.

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