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Opening Remarks by
Dr. Stuart Minchin, Director-General of the Pacific Community
Blue Climate Summit
Your Excellency President Édouard Fritch, Pacific Leaders, SG Puna, friends of the Pacific and the people of French Polynesia, thank you for allowing me the honour of a short introductory remark as this important Summit.
This year has truly kicked off as the year of the Ocean with a plethora of ocean events at all levels. It is indicative of growing global appreciation of the magnitude of challenges that face the ocean, the importance of its role in planetary stability, and its opportunity to support the lives of billions of people and ecosystems that depend on it. A concept we appreciate all too well in Pasifika.
As the head of the largest intergovernmental agency in the Pacific – the Pacific Community (SPC), which is principally responsible for providing the scientific and knowledge base to underpin good decision making on the sustainable and resilient management of our ocean and its resources – I can assure you that we take this Summit and its objectives very seriously.
The innovation, the potential investment, the partnerships and our collective efforts are indeed required to address the climate ocean nexus challenge and opportunity.
The innovation, the potential investment, the partnerships and our collective efforts are indeed required to address the climate ocean nexus challenge and opportunity. So I thank you for the invitation to be a part of this important event and for the leadership shown by the President and people of French Polynesia and partners in convening and mobilising this opportunity. French Polynesia is also the Chair of our Governing Council of 27 members States and Territories across the Pacific so we are confident with this leadership at our helm, that we can deliver on our mission here.
Our mission is a serious one. We have to find the necessary investment and partnerships to bring to the entire region a shared public capability. A capability that will empower Pacific countries and territories to efficiently manage, monitor and develop their individual and shared resources, provide livelihoods and opportunities to their populations and guarantee a sustainable future for Pacific peoples and the invaluable ecosystems, flora and fauna of which they are the custodians. In the context of this week’s Summit, we believe that setting up and rolling out Digital Earth Pacific will unlock exponential opportunity in the region as it has in Australia and Africa. We are also on a mission to mobilise investments in strengthening the food systems of the Pacific and shifting the dial on the current alarming rates of non-communicable diseases and child stunting in the Pacific – through a ‘Food in Pacific Schools’ project. These projects, and SPC’s work in general, seek to harness the power of the ocean-climate-development nexus, advancing climate action, strengthening ocean action and drawing on multiple synergies to provide lasting solutions for Pacific people that can also serve as examples for other regions around the globe.
In addition to this, we want to see what other ideas are on the table and explore how SPC can support these in the region with our scientific and technical capabilities which span all 17 SDGs. Given the magnitude of the challenges we face, I am convinced that we are all stronger together.
Finally, one cannot come to such a special country, without taking in and appreciating the breadth of natural beauty and the depth of Pacific culture, tradition and aroha embodied in this place – French Polynesia.
Maruru, merci and thank you for having us.