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Remarks by Cristelle Pratt, Deputy Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum on the Blue Pacific - the Pacific’s commitment to the global Agenda 2030


2nd September 2017, SPREP, Apia Samoa

I am pleased to be here to share with you some of the Forum Secretariat's perspectives on the Pacific's commitments to the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development that we are undertaking in the region with many stakeholders and partners, all within the context of shifting challenges and opportunities.

For example - across the world, we are witnessing a rise in nationalism and protectionism, and an apparent decline in support for multilateralism; as well we are seeing potential security risks emerging for the Pacific due to current tensions around the Pacific Rim such as between the US and North Korea.

Inequality continues to deepen across the globe and in the Pacific too, which potentially gives rise to economic, social and political instability.  An SPC inequality survey of five countries in the Pacific found that on average the bottom 20% of the population of these 5 countries account for 4.5% of total household income while the top 20% of the population account for 52% of total household income. These are stark metrics which need our attention (and addressed under SDG10 which seeks to reduce inequalities).

We also now have a significant increase in the number of non-traditional actors engaged in our region.  This brings both opportunities as well as complexity and risks (and could be addressed under SDG17 on pursuing partnerships for achieving the goals).

The increasing frequency and intensity of disasters from natural hazards and from climate change impacts, increasing island and ocean pollution and contamination is already visibly impacting our ocean, our coastal areas, our homes, infrastructure, food and water security – our livelihoods and our wellbeing.

For example the anticipated impact of global warming on our coral reefs is expected to cause a decrease of 20% of our fisheries and a 30% decrease in our tourism earnings.

These trends have many implications for our region given a heavy reliance on external development support through multilateral and bilateral assistance, on mobility of Pacific populations and resultant remittances, on tourism, on our ocean, our food and water security, on our livelihoods and due to our geography and location - on our security.

How are we responding to the rapid changes and challenges that are confronting us?

The theme for this year's Forum highlights – The Blue Pacific: Our Sea of Islands – Our Security through Sustainable Development, Management and Conservation provides promise and opportunity for inspired leadership to not only transform our Pacific narrative and mindset but to adopting different and innovative approaches to how we may address the various challenges and commitments to implementing the 2030 Agenda – at a regional level – where it makes sense to do so.

You have already heard from the incoming Chair for this year's Forum the Honourable PM of Samoa Tuileapa Sailele that The Blue Pacific is about harnessing and reclaiming our collective Pacific identity and for the Pacific region to better drive our development and our narrative through stronger regionalism.

What does this mean for the work that we are doing on sustainable development?

Whilst committing fully to the implementation of the global agendas on the DEV2030 and SDGs and the SAMOA Pathway, our Forum Leaders were determined that any commitments made under these instruments (as well as others such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Reduction and the Paris Agreement on CC) suit our context and circumstances and they be anchored around the Framework for Pacific Regionalism and countries' own National Sustainable Development Plans.  They wanted to drive our development agenda by collectively focusing efforts on implementation and monitoring of regional priorities that are important to the Pacific such as on our oceans (SDG14) and climate action (SDG13); which are centre-point and which cannot be seen separate from the rest of the SDGs given their importance and cross-cutting nature.

So, in 2015 our Leaders tasked the Forum Secretariat in collaboration with the CROP and UN agencies to lead coordination of regional efforts on SDGs implementation and monitoring recognising the unfinished business of the MDGs and calling for development partner support.

They directed that the global agenda be contextualised to national and regional priorities, and that reporting be streamlined across the SDGs, SAMOA Pathway and Framework for Pacific Regionalism through a regional set of indicators.

To address the Leaders' directives, an inclusive Pacific SDGTF (Chaired by Samoa) and comprising member countries, CROP, UN, development partners, private sector and civil society representatives was established in June 2016 to coordinate regional efforts and prepare the groundwork for a regional roadmap for sustainable development.  The Taskforce has developed a Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development to deliver on the Leaders directives and to be considered by them at their meeting to be held next Friday 8th September.

The Roadmap is underpinned by a draft Implementation Strategy but this will be finalised once Leaders have endorsed the Roadmap.

Both documents were prepared in consultation with the region including through various consultations culminating in the Pacific Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Development in June this year where all key stakeholder groups came together to discuss and decide on what elements needed to be included if we are to meet our commitments to the 2030 Agenda.

If I may just briefly describe The Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development- its spans the period of the 2030 Agenda and seeks to achieve by 2030, a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity and that all Pacific people lead free, healthy, and productive lives (this resonates with the Leaders Vision under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism). As already mentioned it seeks to guide the Pacific's response to the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway in the context of the FPR and Member countries national sustainable development plans; as well as considering other important instruments that have implications for our development agenda (such as Sendai, the Paris Accord and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and our own regional sector and thematic policy and planning instruments such as the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific and the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape, Fisheries roadmaps and the like).  It sets out how Pacific countries will be supported as they seek to implement the 2030 Agenda - individually and regionally. 

The Roadmap calls for leaving no one behind, it also calls for inclusiveness and for coordinated support for implementing and tracking regional priorities through strong national ownership that is backed by regional and international cooperation. Efforts will focus on regional priorities such as: climate change and disaster risk management (under the FRDP, which seeks to take an integrated approach to considering and managing CC and Disaster risks in all development planning and practice actions to ensure that development is both sustainable and resilient); ocean governance, management and conservation (under the FPO as their a many ocean initiatives that require regional and sub-regional approaches due to the connectivity and transboundary issues of our ocean and its resources); poverty reduction, non-communicable diseases and cervical cancer – which can benefit from initiatives that seek economies of scale; improving connectivity (both air and sea transport; and ICT); empowering women, girls, youth and people with disabilities and improving quality of education. 

A draft regional set of indicators will track progress through a Pacific Sustainable Development Report which will be produced every four years – with the first to be published in 2018. In the first few years the focus will be on strengthening country systems, institutions and capacities and on establishing as well as strengthening inclusive and mutually accountable multi-stakeholder partnerships – to ensure that we are able to meet our sustainable development aspirations.

The Pacific Roadmap prioritises Pacific expertise, scaling up and expanding regional cooperation through peer-to-peer learning which was pioneered and a successful initiative under the Forum Compact. Leadership of these efforts will remain within the region, inclusive of civil society and private sector leadership, and is a clear embodiment of our intentions under The Blue Pacific.

The Pacific Roadmap is organised across five inextricably linked elements of
(1) Leadership and coordination
(2) Advocacy and communications
(3) Regional priorities monitoring and indicators
(4) Integrated reporting; and
(5) Supporting the means of implementation.

The Pacific Roadmap remains a living document, to be revised by the Pacific SDG Taskforce being responsive to shifting priorities over the period to 2030.

I will end here and look forward to questions and a discussion.

THANK YOU

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