Prime Minister Peter O’Neill urges “Unity” amongst Pacific Island Nations
“Individually our nations are small in global terms, but together we are strong.” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill at the opening ceremony of the Pacific Islands Forum.
As the outgoing chairperson of the Pacific Islands Forum Prime Minister Hon Peter O’Neill CMG MP addressed those gathered at the opening ceremony of the forum held in Pohnpei, Micronesia. His speech addressed the progress the group had made in the past year since the 2015 forum in Port Moresby.
The Prime Minister spoke on several issues of high importance to Pacific Island nations. He highlighted the need for action in protecting our oceans and maintaining the health of vital fisheries. He also spoke of the impact climate change may have on the Pacific Islands and called on global leaders to come together in combating the challenge.
“Climate change is more than an environmental issue – it is an economic and political issue as well. Climate change is destroying communities and costing jobs and displacing many of our people.” The Prime Minister said in his address.
He also spoke highly of Pacific regionalism. As small and remote nations he noted that the Pacific nations are strongest when they can work together on common goals. “Global pressures affect all island nations. The (economic) slow down affects tourism, and demand for non-resource commodities. But we must continue to work together, think smarter and be sensible in our economic decisions so that our growth continues.”
He concluded his speech by passing on the chairmanship to the leader of the host nation. “I look forward to working with the incoming Chair, His Exellency President Peter Christian, and to his strong leadership of the forum, and with the good people of the Federated States of Micronesia. “ Peter O’Neill concluded.
The forum is running until the 11th of September. The annual meeting brings together leaders of the Pacific Island nations to work together on collective responses to regional challenges.