A little over 50 years ago, leaders from the seven Pacific Island nations created a forum to help preserve their vital natural resources; expand their economic opportunities; and safeguard their health.
This Pacific Island Forum did something else that was crucial, noted Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Forum’s recent meeting:
“It recognized the global resonance of these aspirations – and it drove collective action to address them. Supporting territories in their right to self-determination. Playing an outsized role in negotiating the Paris Climate Accords. Shaping the Sustainable Development Goals, especially their focus on conserving the world’s oceans, seas, and marine ecosystems. Making the United Nations more inclusive, and better at giving a voice to all of its member-states.”
“Because of the leadership of the Pacific Islands, big countries and small states alike are better positioned to choose their own path, enjoy greater access to clean air and water, and protect more of the planet,” said Secretary Blinken.
“Part of building a better future is attending to the consequences of the past,” including unexploded ordinance, noted Secretary Blinken. Throughout the Pacific, the United States continues to make more land safe for agriculture, infrastructure, development, and tourism by locating and destroying unexploded ordinance. The United States announced it will provide an additional $4.2 million to address this issue.
“We’re seizing on the possibilities of this moment to build a more secure, a more resilient, a more inclusive, a more prosperous region,” said Secretary Blinken:
“That’s the spirit behind this summit. And that’s the spirit behind our shared work: to strengthen climate resilience; to protect the region’s natural resources; to increase digital connectivity; to create greater opportunity for all of our people.”
“As fellow Pacific nations, the fundamental fact is this: Our fates are tied together,” declared Secretary Blinken. “And we’ve never been more committed to our shared vision for the future.”