Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna says Pacific Leaders and US officials should feel “a strong sense of accomplishment” on the achievement of the joint US-Pacific declaration today.
The declaration, endorsed by all attending Pacific nations in the inaugural Biden Summit this week, affirms a 10-point list of key priorities topped by the climate crisis, recognition of the Blue Pacific and 2050 agenda, and the strength of regionalism offered by the Pacific Islands Forum.
Puna says the summit is a strong demonstration of mutual respect and genuine diplomacy toward a shared vision, based on the principles of talanoa and trust.
He congratulated the leaders of the 14 Pacific Islands countries who’ve had a gruelling travel and meeting schedule over the last three weeks.
Puna has welcomed the ‘willingness of the US to listen and accommodate the region’s views and concerns, especially in settling the language for the partnership vision – a critical space of consensus for both the US and the Pacific.
He adds throughout the two-day summit, leaders were able to share hopes, reflections on other existing partnerships, and the legacy of the US relationship with the Pacific.
The summit attracted global attention the moment it was announced, with the Biden administration being the first to invite Pacific leaders as a collective to Washington.
PIF Chair and Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has been at the forefront to secure this historic summit.
In his address to the Leaders, early this morning, US President Joe Biden emphasized that the security in the Pacific and for the Pacific islanders remains critical.
“To secure – the security of America, quite frankly, and the world depends on your security and the security of the Pacific Islands. And I really mean that.”
The topics of economics, trade and investment, climate advocacy and action featured alongside strengthened engagement for social inclusion, women, and youth leadership, and investing in more US-Pacific partnerships.
America has today pledged USD810m in expanded US programs to improve the lives of Pacific Islanders.