Fiji joined its regional and international partners at the 9th Pacific Island Leaders Meeting (PALM 9) Senior Officials Meeting yesterday, which was convened by Japan in the buildup to the PALM 9 meeting scheduled for later this year.
The mandate of the Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) is to discuss and direct action with Japan on regional priorities and policy positions. Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and Japan are important, longstanding partners, sharing the Pacific Ocean and addressing common challenges.
In order to enhance this partnership with the PICs, Japan has been hosting Summit-level meetings, commonly known as the Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM) every three years since 1997.
While representing Fiji at this virtual meeting, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs, Mr. Yogesh Karan provided an overview of the 2050 Strategy for a Blue Pacific Continent.
Mr Karan said the 2050 Strategy as mandated by the Forum Leaders in 2019, comes at an opportune time as it will inform the region's policy trajectory over the next three decades.
He stated that at its core, the 2050 Strategy is about securing the future of our Blue Pacific and recognises that this will require strong, regional collective action and aligned support from our international partners.
Mr Karan informed the PALM9 SOM officials that the 2050 strategy is guided by a working vision of Blue Pacific Continent as a region of peace; harmony; security, social inclusion; and increased prosperity so that all Pacific people are leading free, healthy and productive lives.
He further stated that implementing the decisions of PIF leaders in the development of the 2050 Strategy is a major undertaking which faced challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Forum Members are working to develop the 2050 Strategy for the consideration of Forum Leaders later this year.
In this context, Mr Karan called on the PALM9 SOM Officials to work in solidarity to seize the opportunity to re-evaluate our collective relationship at the regional level to ensure that it is aligned to the 2050 Strategy. He also commended Japan for its commitment in advancing important discussions through a cohesive approach to resolve regional and global challenges.
In his concluding remarks, Mr Karan elaborated that as the world continues to witness the detrimental effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing threats posed by climate change, we remain optimistic of the resolve of our Blue Pacific people and our ability, to rise above the challenges more resiliently and stronger than ever before.