Vanuatu has already begun preparations for hosting the 51st Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) Leaders’ Meeting, which will be held in early August, hard on the heels of this year’s independence anniversary on July 30th.
It will be the second time Vanuatu has hosted the Forum, with the previous occasion being in 2010.
This year’s hosting of the region’s premiere event from the 4th to 7th of August is particularly significant given it coincides with Vanuatu’s celebration of 40 years of independence.
In 1980, as the country prepared to declare political independence from Great Britain and France, it was at the behest of a budding regional institution – then known as the South Pacific Forum.
What we now know as PIF was only a year away from marking its first decade of establishment, when Fr. Walter Lini and others successfully navigated Vanuatu’s transition to political self-determination – the last Pacific country to do so in. the 20th century.
This year’s event will be centred around the theme: “One Blue Pacific – Investing in a shared climate resilient future founded on human dignity and wellbeing”.
Vanuatu believes that with the climate crisis being the single greatest threat to securing the shared future of the Blue Pacific, it is incumbent on all PIF members to accelerate action towards achieving zero carbon emissions, and addressing the devastating loss and damage already being experienced within the region.
Why “One Blue Pacific?” Vanuatu is firmly of the view that while “Oceans” are on the frontline of the devastating consequences of the climate emergency, they are also a key part of the solutions required to ensure the region remains resilient and sustainable going into the future.
As host, Vanuatu will seek to build on the agreements made in the Boe Declaration, the Kainaki II Declaration, the UN SG’s Climate Action Summit and UNFCCC negotiations, and mandate the development of effective, time-bound, collective commitments that can be transparently measured and tracked within our region.
Vanuatu is calling on leaders, national delegations, civil society, the private sector, academia, donors and dialogue partners to “come to Port Vila ready to make transformative, people-focused and tangible commitments to address the existential climate change threat to our shared future”.
The other key themes of PIF2020 will be investing in human dignity as well as investing in a shared approach to sustainable wellbeing – central to the economy.
Vanuatu’s Chairman of the Advisory Committee for PIF who is also Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu says, “Ensuring human dignity through respect for basic human rights, gender empowerment and self-determination has long been at the heart of the existence of the Forum.
“Vanuatu fully recognises this. It is one of the reasons we are fully supportive of the inaugural PIF Women Leader’s Summit.
“We invite everyone to support this initiative to empower Pacific women leaders,” says Regenvanu.