New York

26 September 2014

Secretary-General's remarks at Meeting with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders [as prepared for delivery]

I am pleased to welcome you to the United Nations.

I congratulate Palau on its chairmanship of the Pacific Islands Forum.
And I applaud Tuiloma Nerona Slade for his years of leadership as PIF Secretary-General.

Today we build on the successful Forum Leaders’ meeting in Koror last month.
I congratulate you on the adoption of the Palau Declaration on “The Ocean: Life and Future- charting a course to sustainability”.

I fully support the Declaration’s recognition that leaders of the Pacific are stewards of the Pacific Ocean, one of the world’s greatest endowments.

I commend your strong position on the importance of having a comprehensive stand-alone sustainable development goal on oceans.

I congratulate the Pacific Islands Forum for the launch of the Pacific Ocean Alliance. The United Nations system will support this initiative. I encourage you to take advantage of our technical assistance to developing States.

I was recently in your beautiful region for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa. I also visited New Zealand, which contributed a great deal to the success of the SIDS Conference.

While I was in Samoa, I visited a community that was displaced by a tsunami in 2009. It was a stark reminder of the effects of climate change.

At the same time, I was impressed by the energy and determination of the peoples of the Pacific to confront and overcome our pressing challenges.

I welcome your active participation at the SIDS conference – the largest international gathering ever held in the Pacific.

I was deeply encouraged by the more than 300 partnerships established there with civil and business communities. The pledges made in Apia ranged across economic, social and environmental initiatives. 

The Samoa Pathway should be high on the agenda of the General Assembly, ECOSOC and the High-Level Political Forum. UN regional commissions are fully engaged in carrying out its provisions.

In Apia, I instructed leaders from across the United Nations to work as one team to reflect the decisions and recommendations of the SIDS conference. I reinforced this instruction to senior managers as soon as I returned to New York.

The Conference outcome also made an important and strong reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. This echoes the consistent recognition by Member States of the Convention’s contribution to the sustainable development of oceans and their resources.

This week, we held a historic Climate Summit that brought together an unprecedented gathering of high-level representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector and activists.

I applaud all Pacific countries that raised their strong voices for progress on the climate negotiations.

I am doing everything possible to press for the adoption of a meaningful, legal climate agreement next year.

I am also urging governments to capitalize the Green Climate Fund so it can help finance activities related to climate mitigation and adaptation.

At the same time, we are intensifying our push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
 
And we are shaping a post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development goals that address the vulnerabilities and needs of all countries, including the small island developing States.

The PIF can help drive global progress on all three fronts. And that will help secure our collective future.

The Pacific region continues to be a dynamic region. The United Nations welcomes the increased contribution of Pacific countries to UN priorities. Our partnership with you remains strong on peace, democratic transitions and peacebuilding.

I recently welcomed the peaceful elections in Fiji. I applaud the Fijian people for exercising their constitutional right to vote.

I hope this election will advance Fiji’s transition to democracy. The United Nations fully supports this goal.

In Papua New Guinea, we are committed to working in close partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Autonomous Bougainville Government in support of ongoing peacebuilding efforts. The UN Peacebuilding Fund will back this process.

Maintaining peace and security and upholding human rights and the rule of law are essential to lasting progress in the Pacific region.

Empowering women is critical to progress.

I have noted the adoption of the Pacific Leaders Gender Equality Declaration and the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.  I encourage you to boost the political participation and economic advancement of women, and to eliminate violence against them.

The United Nations is committed to a strong partnership with this Forum. And we count on its support for our global work at this critical point in history.

We have a once-in-a-generation chance to put the world on a sustainable path.

I count on the Pacific to be in the vanguard of this historic drive for a better future.

Thank you.