The head of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat says it’s important for the Pacific Islands to take stronger ownership of its identity and existence.
Dame Meg Taylor - Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. Photo/ PMN.
Secretary General Dame Meg Taylor addressed journalists yesterday at a pre-forum media workshop hosted by the Pacific Islands News Association.
She emphasised the importance of this year’s theme for the 49th Pacific Islands Forum hosted in Nauru - Building a strong Pacific: “Our People – Our Islands – Our Will”.
Dame Taylor says it’s a call for the region to realise its significance in the world, being the largest ocean state.
“We’re not isolated islands just floating in this ocean… We have to build on being an ocean continent and why it’s important to build on our strengths.”
“The strength is about who we are as people, what are our countries, what is our relationship with each other and over the past 49 years, what have we done to come together and to understand the strength of the collective.”
Pacific leaders and officials will meet in Nauru this week for the 49th Pacific Islands Forum. Photo/ PMN.
The forum has recently pushed for commitment from all 18 member nations to work together to address issues that affect the region using a “Blue Pacific” narrative.
Dame Taylor says the Blue Pacific narrative is a reminder that working as a collective means a greater chance of survival.
“That’s the essence of the value of this region and we have to understand that and not always think that we’re dependent on other people for our survival,” she says.
“We have to take command of our own future.”
The forum will begin on Monday and will run for four days, where leaders will discuss progress on issues such as sustainable growth, trade, the increasing effects of climate change, managing fisheries in the region and how to tackle the increase of non-communicable diseases.