4 August 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

No Other Challenge in Pacific as Urgent, Potentially Life-Threatening as Climate

Change, Says Secretary-General in Message to Leaders Meeting in Vanuatu


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting, delivered by Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in Port Vila, Vanuatu, 4 August:

I send my warmest greetings to the Pacific Heads of State and Government, and thank Prime Minister [Edward] Natapei and the Government and people of Vanuatu for hosting this meeting.

The United Nations attaches great importance to the Pacific Islands Forum as the main regional body in the Pacific.  Our two organizations have many shared interests and concerns.  We have been cooperating closely on programmes tailored to the particular needs of the Pacific, particularly in the areas of development and the environment.

We have also worked closely with the Forum on conflict prevention, management initiatives and elections.  The United Nations is committed to the rule of law, human rights, and good governance.  In this context, we urge an inclusive process to return Fiji to civilian constitutional rule as soon as possible.

No other challenge in the Pacific is as urgent and potentially life-threatening as climate change, which has been among my top priorities as Secretary-General.  The situation in this region, where resettling whole populations outside national boundaries is under consideration, demands the international community’s urgent attention and action.

Pacific leaders have sought to ensure that the interests of your people remain at the heart of climate change negotiations.  I count on your continued engagement at the highest level to maintain momentum in the global negotiations leading up to Cancun.  My recently established High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is working hard to identify ways to reach the goal of $100 billion per year by 2020, as pledged in Copenhagen.

Pacific Small Island Developing States are making progress towards achieving several of the Millennium Development Goals.  But there are considerable differences in the success rates.

Building on the Pacific Conference on the Human Face of the Global Economic Crisis, organized by Vanuatu in partnership with the United Nations, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and other regional organizations in February of this year, the United Nations, through its agencies, country programmes and development assistance frameworks, will support you in every way possible to meet the Goals by 2015.  I count on your full engagement in the Millennium Development Goals Summit I am convening in New York next month.  This will start our final push for the Goals over the next five years.

The United Nations remains strongly committed to the Pacific.  In the spirit of partnership, I would like to convey my best wishes for productive discussions during this summit, and for its successful outcome.

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For information media • not an official record