Alofi, Niue, 19 August 2008 - Secretary-General's message to the Pacific Islands Forum Summit Meeting [delivered by Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific)It gives me pleasure to send greetings to the Heads of State or Government who have gathered for this summit meeting. The Government and people of Niue merit gratitude for hosting this important regional event.
Allow me first to extend my sincere condolences on the death last week of your Secretary-General. Greg Urwin was a widely respected diplomat who worked tirelessly in the Pacific to increase integration and cooperation among all island states. He inspired us all with his vision of a cohesive and prosperous Pacific region, and his death is a loss not just for the Pacific Island States, but for the international community. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends and to all those touched by his passing.
Excellencies, the United Nations attaches great importance to its relationship with the Pacific Islands Forum. Today, as the United Nations attends this meeting for the first time as an Observer to the Forum, I welcome this opportunity to support your role in the region and broaden our cooperation, for example in the areas of good governance and the rule of law.
Already, our collaboration encompasses many areas of shared interest and concern, from farming and fisheries to urbanization and disability. The UN Development Programme, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific, the UN Environment Programme, UNICEF, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs are among the many UN bodies actively engaged in programmes and Pacific initiatives.
Earlier this year, UNDP's Pacific Centre, the UN Department of Political Affairs, the Pacific Islands Forum and the University of the South Pacific co-hosted an expert meeting on conflict management attended by Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea, including representation from Bougainville. The meeting gave participants from around the world the opportunity to increase their mutual understanding of Pacific issues, and we look forward to broadening it on future occasions to include other countries in the region.
I am very heartened that Pacific Island countries are making their voices heard on the subject of climate change. We in the United Nations share your concern. Climate change is not science fiction. As your countries know all too well, it is real and present, and your communities are facing the adverse impacts every day. The United Nations is strongly committed to supporting your countries with respect to mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction, taking into account the special vulnerability you face. To this end, we are working towards establishing an Inter-Agency Climate Change Centre for coordinated UN support to Pacific Island Countries and regional organizations, in partnership with the Government of Samoa. AT the international level, we are also looking for concrete outcomes from the Poznan meeting later this year – not least on the pressing issue of making financial, technological and capacity building support for adaptation available to vulnerable countries. Our goal must be a successful climate change agreement, under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention, by the end of 2009.
On these and other vital issues, our organizations are increasingly bound together by shared values and common goals. In that spirit of partnership, please accept my best wishes for a successful Summit.
Statements on 19 August 2008
- New York, 19 August 2008 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the bombing in Algeria
- New York, 19 August 2008 - Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the death of the President of Zambia
- New York, 19 August 2008 - Secretary-General's remarks to the Solemn Ceremony marking the Fifth Anniversary of the Baghdad Bombing