Speech- Prime-Minister

31st SPREP Meeting of Officials

Monday 4 September 2023

6-8pm @ Taumeasina Island Resort

Keynote Opening Remarks Honourable Fiame Naomi, Prime Minister


Reverend Nuuausala Siutaia Siaosi

Honourable Members of Cabinet

Honourable Ministers of SPREP member countries and Representatives

Members of Parliament

Director General of SPREP

Director General of the SPC

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the pleasure, on behalf of the Government and people of Samoa, to warmly welcome you to Samoa for the 31st SPREP Meeting.

I am both encouraged and assured by your presence here this week, You embody the collective high commitment and priority we place on the protection and management of the environment and natural resources of our Blue Pacific, for present and future generations. This is particularly true in the present day given that we live and work under exceptional times and circumstances, and where so many of the socio-economic and environmental problems we face are global in nature and not of our making.

I note you have a full agenda over the next few days leading up to the Environment Ministers' High Level Talanoa, but allow me to address a few of the issues that you will consider.

[2050 Strategy]
I firmly believe that there is a high degree of ownership among all our countries in our sustainable development efforts. These can be reinforced by the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent to respond to unique challenges that our region faces, including in environment and sustainable development.

I welcome advice that the first Partnership Dialogue was held today to focus on strengthening partnerships for a resilient Blue Pacific on issues related to SPREP’s mandate, its Strategic Plan 2017-2026, and programmes to strengthen of its institutional capacities, competencies, and a sustainable funding base. While an inclusive approach was taken in the development of the 2050 Strategy and its Implementation Plan, the 2050 Strategy is also predicated on the essential need for international partnership and assistance. We cannot do it alone.
The 2050 Strategy will also provide an opportunity for many of our development partners to refine their engagement strategy with our region to ensure alignment with national and regional priorities, including through existing regional frameworks and mechanisms.

[Climate change]
Climate change remains the single greatest existential threat facing our Blue Pacific region. Forum Leaders have also declared that the Pacific is facing a Climate Emergency that threatens the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of our people and ecosystems, backed by the latest science and the daily lived realities in Pacific communities.
The evidence of the latest IPCC report is irrefutable - we will not be able to stave off the worst consequences of climate change if do not immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Given insufficient global response to limit temperatures below 1.5°C, Samoa, as AOSIS Chair, will continue to advocate for more ambitious targets and urgent follow through in the implementation of the NDCs. I acknowledge SPREPs technical support and advice to Pacific SIDS and in leading the One CROP Team in preparations for COP28 in Dubai. We look forward to your continued support.
I commend the endorsement of the Namaka Ministerial Declaration for a Sustainable Weather, Climate, Ocean and Water Services for a Resilient Blue Pacific at the recent Pacific Ministerial Meeting on Meteorology. Advancing the Weather Ready Pacific endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2021 will ensure our region can address its capacity gaps and better prepare for the extreme events brought on by climate change. I thank the Australian Government for its contribution of AUD$30 million to kick-start the initiative, as well as support from New Zealand and WMO.

Our ocean is crucial. We have acknowledged the important nexus between climate change and oceans, and so we must continue to advocate for the science-policy interface and innovative solutions to inform a more resilient Blue Pacific. Addressing waste and pollution is also key to a sustainable Blue Pacific. Plastic pollution negotiations and the work of the INC to develop an internationally legally binding instrument must be actively supported and advocated. We contribute as little as 1.3% of global plastic pollution but we are grossly affected by the growing impact of plastic pollution in all areas of everyday life, especially when it comes to the ocean.
Our region’s nuclear legacy continues to shape our resolve and perspective. The opportunity to realise the full benefits of our Blue Pacific rests in the ability of our members to stand together in the face of intense engagement of an ever-growing number of partners in our region. I wish to recall and reiterate Forum Leaders’ strong concerns for the significance of the potential threat of nuclear contamination to the health and security of the Blue Pacific, our people and prospects, and reaffirm the importance of ensuring international consultation, international law, and independent and verifiable scientific assessments consistent with the 2021 PALM9 Declaration.

I wish to congratulate SPREP on its 30th anniversary celebrations and to thank also SPREP sincerely for its valuable contribution to Samoa’s development. My Government is privileged to work and partner with SPREP on many occasions in support of our sustainable development aspirations. I look forward to further strengthening our joint efforts, including in Samoa’s role as AOSIS Chair.
I also wish to warmly acknowledge the valuable support and assistance of all our development partners in the priorities and work SPREP. Our actions and resolve as a collective in ensuring timely responses to the critical needs of our region and peoples and in addressingthe existential threat of climate change and all related challenges remains critical.

I am pleased to declare your Meeting opened, and wish you well in your deliberations.