It is a pleasure to greet all the leaders and other participants in the Pacific Islands Forum. The United Nations attaches great important to its relationship with the Forum.
I welcome the focus of this year’s Forum on the critical role of oceans and the gathering impacts of climate change. As Palau’s President Tommy Esang Remengesau Jr. has said, “Climate change continues to be the issue that threatens our lives, so it deserves to be on the forefront of every forum until our voices are heard”.
The United Nations is determined that your voices will be heard. Two occasions in the weeks ahead warrant special attention.
First, the United Nations Conference on Small Island Development States to be held in September. This will be a major opportunity to highlight the needs and aspirations of SIDS as Member States continue to shape a bold post-2015 development agenda. Oceans will be one main topic for discussion in Samoa, with the second day devoted specifically to concerns such as fishing, over-fishing and other threats.
Second, the Climate Summit I am convening in New York on September 23rd. I reiterate my invitation to the leaders of the Pacific region to attend. You have a key role to play in helping the world find solutions to rising sea levels and increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather patterns.
2014 is thus a pivotal year for oceans and the Pacific region. The rich ecosystems and extensive resources of the Pacific Ocean are central to the health, heritage and prosperity of the region. Maintaining healthy oceans is a global challenge that needs the concentrated effort of government, private sector and communities. Oceans may divide us geographically but they can unite us in a shared mission of preservation and sustainability.
The Pacific region can be a region of peace, security and economic prosperity that treasures diversity. The world needs a Pacific region that is respected for the quality of its governance, the sustainable management of its resources, the full observance of democratic values and the promotion of human rights.
The decisions that will be made over the coming months will have profound implications for this generation and many more to come. I wish you every success in your deliberations and look forward to continuing our close partnership in building a better world for all.