[Hon. James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea]
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I take the opportunity to welcome all the participants to the “2020 Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Change” Conference. While this is the third biennial conference, it is the first to be held virtually and Samoa is pleased to co-host this with Victoria University Wellington, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) and the National University of Samoa. Despite the unprecedented times we are facing with the current COVID situation, we must remain resilient. As many borders remain closed, regrettably, Climate Change respects no borders and the devastation continues. We cannot ignore nor delay action on issues that threaten our livelihoods and the very existence of some of our Pacific islands. The theme of our Conference is “Blue Pacific, Climate Action for Climate Resilience.” The solutions do not lie with a handful of people. It requires a sector wide and whole of society approach. Thus I am pleased to note the diverse backgrounds and expertise that will gather virtually this week from across the Pacific and the world. You will explore the science, assess the impacts, discuss solutions and mobilize the enablers; so we can ensure urgent and ambitious climate action.
As you begin your discussions today, Forum Leaders will also meet soon virtually to discuss our regional priorities, the highest of which are COVID 19, Climate Change, and Oceans. The solutions and outcomes from this critical gathering will help us as Leaders and as the Blue Pacific to pursue our vision for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives. This is not possible if we do not address the adverse impacts of climate change and reverse the cycle of decline it has on our greatest resource, our ocean. I again reiterate that while it is small island states like Samoa that are facing the brunt of the impacts of climate change, no country is immune to the reaches of climate change.
I commend the work of the organisers, and thank all the key note speakers; all the experts and participants who have committed their time to join us this week to find solutions, accelerate climate action and mitigate environmental degradation.
I wish you all a successful conference!