The Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN) is meeting this week in Pacific Harbor, Fiji, to finalise the PAPGREN Charter and Pacific Seed Systems Roadmap and update the region on Plant Genetic Resources conservation to set out its work for the next five years. PAPGREN is a vital body working to provide food and nutritional security to Pacific Island countries and territories through a professional network that ensures long-term conservation, easy access to, and sustainable use of plant genetic resources of crops and trees.
- Hon. Vatimi Rayalu, Fiji Minister for Agriculture and Waters,
- Respected development partners from DFAT, Elena Avila Martin, and MFAT, Guy Redding
- Respected SPC Member Countries
- Distinguished guests and speakers, esteemed colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen.
I stand before you today with immense pride and gratitude as we convene this significant regional meeting hosted by the Land Resources Division of the Pacific Community (SPC). It is an honour and a privilege to welcome each and every one of you to this momentous gathering focused on the theme, "Enhancing Coordination on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in the Pacific."
Allow me to extend a warm Pacific welcome to our Chief Guest, the Honourable Vatimi Rayalu whose presence here today is a testament to the importance and urgency of the cause we have gathered to address. Your leadership and support inspire us all as we work towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future for our beloved Pacific nations.
I also extend my heartfelt welcome to our development partners, our global and regional partners as well as our national agricultural and research partners, and all participants who have journeyed from across the Pacific and beyond and also joined online during odd hours to be present with us here today. Your presence underscores the collaborative spirit that binds us together in our shared mission.
The objectives of this meeting are clear and critical:
Firstly, we aim to finalize the Charter for the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN). This charter will serve as the foundation of our collective efforts, forging a strong alliance dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of our plant genetic resources.
Secondly, we will collectively craft and finalize the Pacific Seed System Roadmap. This roadmap is not just a document; it is our guide to action, shaping our regional strategies and aligning our steps towards a more resilient agricultural future.
Lastly, we will receive updates on current and ongoing activities at both regional and national levels. These updates are invaluable as they inform us about the progress made within our region as a collective and provide a platform to identify common regional priorities for the next five years. Importantly, these priorities will form the basis for our Regional Genebank, the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) and will play a pivotal role in our new Investment Plan.
As we embark on this journey, let us remember that our collective efforts will not only shape the future of agriculture in the Pacific but also have far-reaching implications for global food security and biodiversity conservation. We carry a significant responsibility on our shoulders, and it is a responsibility we embrace with dedication and resolve.
In this room today, we have an abundance of knowledge, experience, and passion. I encourage each of you to actively participate, share your insights, and engage in open dialogue. It is through collaboration and a diversity of perspectives that we will achieve the greatest impact.
I would be remiss if I did not express our sincere appreciation to all partners, sponsors, and our organizing team for their unwavering commitment to making this event a reality.
Ladies and gentlemen, as we embark on this journey together, let us do so with a sense of purpose, unity, and hope. Our region is rich in biodiversity, tradition, and culture, and together, we hold the key to preserving and enhancing our agricultural heritage.
Thank you for your presence here today, and I look forward to the insightful discussions, productive collaborations, and collective actions that will undoubtedly emerge from this gathering.
Let the deliberations begin, and may our collective efforts pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future for the Pacific.
Vinaka vakalevu & Faafetai tele lava!