REMARKS: Address by Secretary General Henry Puna at the Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting

Remarks and Speeches
29 August 2023

Remarks by Secretary General Henry Puna

2023 Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting

Port Moresby 28 August



  • Hon John Rosso, Deputy Prime Minister of PNG
  • Hon Timothy Masiu, Minister for Communication and Information Technology,
  • Honourable Ministers from across the Blue Pacific Continent,
  • Colleagues and friends
  • I’m sorry I can’t be there with you in person, but am pleased to have the opportunity to share these remarks with you all.
  • Last year, Prime Minister Marape and his fellow Pacific Islands Forum Leaders joined me in Suva to launch the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
  • In doing so, they outlined a vision for a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, that ensures all Pacific peoples can lead free, healthy and productive lives.
  • As part of our journey to achieve that vision, we aspire to a future in which all Pacific peoples benefit from access to affordable, safe and reliable ICT infrastructure, systems and operations, while ensuring culturally sensitive user-protection and cyber security.
  • It is fair to say that we have many challenges ahead in the way we develop, use and secure information and communication technology.
  • Pacific peoples pay some of the highest prices for internet services anywhere in the world.
  • Many of our peoples live in remote parts of our Blue Pacific Continent, outside of the range of ICT networks.
  • And where we do have good access to these networks, we’re facing new and rapidly evolving risks to our security.
  • We know we need to work hard to develop our ICT across the region.
  • We know we need to work smarter, to ensure our limited resources are put to good use.
  • Fortunately, we also know that Pacific Island peoples are up to the challenge.
  • In November this year, Leaders will gather in Rarotonga to launch an implementation plan for the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
  • The implementation plan takes stock of the many efforts across the region already underway, and sets out a range of key new actions that we as a region will undertake to address gaps in our current workplans, and move us closer to our leaders’ vision.
  • A key enabler of all of those actions that we will undertake, is of course the development, use and securing of information and communications technology.
  • I am very pleased to be able to join you all here today, and I want to thank the government and people of Papua New Guinea, for taking the initiative to bring us all together to align ourselves on this crucial topic.
  • You have started an important tradition here with this meeting, in committing to work together, as the Forum family, to address the challenges that we all face.
  • The 2050 Strategy provides all Forum Members with a very useful and important framework to guide our work to bring the Pacific into the future.
  • Now that the strategizing is done, it is time for the doing.
  • Through the 2050 Strategy, the challenge has been laid out for our various sectors to forge ahead with the actions that are needed to make the vision of our Forum Leaders a reality.
  • Earlier this month I shared this same message with Forum Economic Ministers in Suva.
  • In the coming days the Pacific Islands Forum Women Leaders Meeting will convene and consider how they too can do their bit.
  • In a fortnight’s time, Forum Foreign Ministers will have that same discussion too.
  • And early next year Forum Trade Ministers will meet and discuss their contribution to achieving the 2050 vision.
  • And so, as you can see, there is a truly broad reaching groundswell of momentum building across the region, wherein we are all, as Pacific brothers and sisters, gathering around the mat, the tanoa, the mango tree, to make a plan for ensuring we reach our goal of a resilient, safe and prosperous future for all Pacific peoples.
  • In closing, let me again applaud the Government and people of PNG for convening this important meeting today.
  • I am pleased to say, as Secretary General of your Pacific Islands Forum, and as Chair of the Council of your Pacific Regional Organisations, that your regional organisations are committed to supporting you all in your work.
  • We will be taking concrete steps to ensure that this gathering is repeated regularly in years to come, and I am pleased to know that this commitment will be reflected in the outcomes statement from today’s meeting, that will be reported to Forum Leaders in Rarotonga.
  • Further, as we speak, your Pacific Islands Forum is assisting Members to develop national E-commerce strategies. This initiative focuses on cybersecurity, ICT infrastructure development and services. I encourage you all to utilise the available regional support via the Pacific E-commerce Initiative.
  • We look forward to working closely with you all in the coming weeks, months and years, as we navigate the challenges of ICT development and cybersecurity together, in partnership, as one Blue Pacific Continent.


Meitaki. Thank you.