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PIDF Spirit Very Much Alive

The spirit of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) is very much alive, says Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Retired) Voreqe Bainimarama. He admitted that after the success of the inaugural forum last year – and the wonderful spirit that marked the first gathering – he wondered whether participating countries could keep that spirit alive.

However, he realised that he didn’t need to worry judging from the feedbacks he had received.

“This includes our chief guest, His Excellency the President of Indonesia, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who left here this morning to return home full of praise for what he’d witnessed even in his brief time with us,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said the attraction of the PIDF was still its novelty value; the fact that for the first time, all had a genuinely Pacific gathering that was also genuinely inclusive – governments, civil society organisations and businesses working together to forge a sustainable development path for all.

He asked why it had taken so many years to officially recognise the need for this grand coalition; to recognise that governments did not have all the answers; did not have a monopoly on wisdom.

He posed these questions:

q “Where else can we all gather under one roof to exchange opinions and ideas?

q Where else do we see Pacific leaders actually chairing sessions addressed by civil society and business representatives, as happened yesterday with the Presidents of Kiribati and Nauru?

q Where else can we hear senior representatives from some of the world’s greatest nations outlining their own development ideas, as happened with the special envoys from China and Russia?

q Where else can representatives of the grassroots in our societies benefit from the wisdom of a leader of the stature of our chief guest, the President of Indonesia?

q Where else can the voices of ordinary Pacific Islanders – through their representatives – cut through and be heard?

q Where else can we all gather together socially as equals – to make contacts and share ideas – to enjoy genuine Pacific hospitality and even hear two presidents sing, as we did at the dinner last night?

“All these had happened at the summit in the past couple of days. Once again, this extraordinary dialogue strengthens our grand coalition and makes it more relevant.”
He said it had been informative; it had been enjoyable and it had been important.

“Because it has drawn us closer to framing a viable and uniquely Pacific blueprint for the sustainable development of our region on land and at sea – Green Growth in a Blue World,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Source: Fiji Sun