Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Henry Puna (right) delivers his address at the opening of the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme/Pacific Islands News Association/Pacific Islands Forum FEMM 2022 Media Workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu yesterday. Picture: SERA TIKOTIKOIVATU-SEFETI
By GERALDINE PANAPASA
Economic recovery and stability will be a key issue for discussion at the 2022 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Vanuatu over the next few days, as Pacific Islands Forum secretary-general Henry Puna revealed the region is strategically positioned to leverage opportunities and make substantive progress across many priorities.
While opening the Pacific Assistance Media Scheme/Pacific Islands News Association/Pacific Islands Forum FEMM 2022 Media Workshop in Port Vila yesterday, Mr Puna said the new 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent would also be discussed in terms of its contribution to shaping and refining the Pacific’s collective economic aspirations.
“This strategy invites a reset in the way we view our Blue Pacific, and our one Blue Planet and further,” he said.
“It also invites a mindset shift for all leaders, in all walks of Pacific life. Importantly, the 2050 strategy is a shift we own, developed by and for the people of the Pacific.
“We will also consider and discuss the next steps on the regionally developed Pacific Resilience Facility (PRF), which has the potential to provide the means of implementing to execute a number of critical priorities under the 2050 Strategy and the forthcoming Blue Pacific Economic Strategy.”
Mr Puna said the Forum Leaders and Forum Finance and Economic Ministers were fully committed to the PRF, and looked forward to further discussions at the FEMM.
He added they would also consider climate and disaster risk finance opportunities in the region, including an update on the critical regional climate finance agenda.
Vanuatu’s director general, finance and economic management Letlet Augustus said the economic health for Pacific nations continued to be an important basis for real and lasting post-COVID economic recovery.
He said the learning outcomes for the media masterclass included key priorities of ensuring more people were aware of the FEMM agenda, including regional responses to COVID-19 and challenges of economic recovery.
“We have seen from the COVID pandemic how misinformation is just as dangerous as a lack of information. Information that is timely, accurate and relevant can not only change attitudes, but save lives and turn economies back on track,” he said.
Mr Augustus said the theme for the 2022 FEMM was ‘Towards a Resilient Economic Recovery and Stability’.
Fiji and Vanuatu are co-chairs of the development of the 2050 Strategy.