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Source: Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Delivered by Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum

8 October 2020

I am very pleased to be joining Dr Kituyi this morning to mark this important partnership milestone between the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and strengthen our relations with the United Nations System.

Indeed, the Pacific Islands Forum, comprising the 18 Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum, sits at the apex of our regional architecture and its Secretariat works to strengthen regional cooperation, including trade and development, in our Blue Pacific region.

As mandated by our Leaders, we continue to work to support our Members in the formulation of economic and development strategies and policies that are inclusive, promote regional economic integration, strengthen connectivity and lead to export-led growth, increased investment in priority areas and decent work opportunities in the region.

Given the many common challenges that confront the Pacific members, regional cooperation and coordination is essential. Indeed, we must continue to work together to address the threat from climate change, challenge protectionism at multilateral level, work against hegemony and remain steadfast against geopolitical competition and outside forces that seek to undermine regionalism and divide us.

The Memorandum of Understanding before us signifies the beginning of what I hope will be a successful and impactful partnership that will benefit the Pacific region and its people. It is a culmination of an already advanced collaboration between our two organisations which has seen the successful implementation of regional initiatives, such as the one on e-commerce – most critical at this time as it improves our members’ readiness to actively take part in the digital economy, as well as their ability to respond to the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Most importantly, this MoU responds to the Pacific region’s trade priorities as articulated in the Pacific Aid-for-Trade Strategy. The Strategy prioritises regional action on services, e-commerce, connectivity, trade facilitation, and quality infrastructure and I am very pleased, that the MoU identifies a wealth of joint projects which can deliver on those priorities.

Whilst I have this opportunity, Excellency, may I also acknowledge with gratitude UNCTAD’s willingness to partner with the Pacific region in delivering on the regional component on trade facilitation for our Members through 11th European Development Fund.

Excellency, with those few words, may I again reaffirm with you my thanks and commitment to ensuring that this partnership thrives not for us, but for the Member States that we both serve.

I thank you.

-ENDS-

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