France assures islands of support

France is ready to work with Pacific Island nations to tackle global challenges such as climate change, security and regional stability.

President of France Emmanuel Macron gave this undertaking on behalf of his government at the recent 5th France-Oceania Summit which was attended virtually by leaders and representatives from 16 nations including Samoa.

He said France stands shoulder to shoulder with the region’s nations and territories in facing crucial security challenges that should be resolved together and acknowledged the challenges to the region posed by climate change, global security and regional stability.

“Our aim is to bring this added value, to contribute towards finding solutions to the challenges you face, by means of the cooperation and the multilateralism that we advocate here as elsewhere,” he said in a statement issued by the PIF Secretariat.

Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Tuvalu Prime Minister Kausea Natano said the challenges of COVID-19, climate change impacts and the declining health and resilience of the ocean affect everyone and underscores the importance of building genuine partnerships and international collaboration.

He added that the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent is to ensure a long-term pathway to deepen regional cooperation, and he called on France as a Forum Dialogue Partner for over 30 years to align its support to the Strategy once it has been finalised.

The P.I.F Chair had then called on France and Forum Leaders to take forward the Summit commitments and turn words into action through regional cooperation and advocacy on the global stage during his closing remarks.

“I believe our dialogue and declaration embodies our commitment to collective action on critical matters for our Blue Pacific region and provides a strong basis to strengthen our partnership and collaboration,” he said.

The leaders then endorsed a summit declaration committing to strengthening cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery; sustainable ocean management, use and conservation; IUU fishing; climate change and resilience; disaster response; protection of biodiversity; renewable energy; and ICT and electronic communications.

According to the P.I.F media release these included support for key regional frameworks and agreements such as the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, Kainaki II Declaration on Urgent Climate Change Action Now, Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific, and the Boe Declaration on Regional Security.

P.I.F Secretary-General Henry Puna said data, science and innovation alone will not be able to engender the collective political demonstration we need on Ocean Governance in the Pacific.

“Dialogue is the key,” he said. “We will be innovative, we will be bold, and we will be creative as we work towards transformative solutions that will ensure the protection and sustainability of this, our great Ocean. 

“But we can only do so if we do so together.”

According to the media release, the virtual summit was attended by leaders or representatives of France, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), Pacific Community (SPC), and Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

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