Leaders advised to capitalize on global interest

May 16, 2024 12:35 pm

Pacific Islands Forum Special Leaders Retreat earlier last year in Nadi, Fiji [File Photo]

Regional leaders have been encouraged to seize the opportunities presented by global interest and not perceive it as a threat.

Outgoing Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Henry Puna advises leaders in the Pacific to consider it a catalyst for progress and improvement in their respective domains.

Reflecting on his tenure, Puna acknowledged the challenges of navigating diverse viewpoints among regional leaders but expressed satisfaction in successfully restoring solidarity and trust among them.

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“Navigating through uncertain waters wasn’t easy, especially when support from all leaders wasn’t assured,” he admitted.”

He states that through concerted efforts, the Forum managed to rekindle that unity.

“My advice to the leaders to is to enjoy that interest, let’s not be threatened by it.”

Puna also notes the role of transparency and honesty among leaders, highlighting the adverse effects of border closures during the pandemic on regional cohesion.

He urged leaders to draw lessons from past adversities and move forward in alignment with the 2050 Strategy.

Acknowledging Puna for his leadership, Forum Chair and Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown extended best wishes for his future endeavours, recognizing his role in steering the Forum through challenging times.

“Henry’s has worked well with the Pacific Islands Forum during his tenure and we got a lot of engagement internationally.”

The outgoing SG’s remarks come at a crucial juncture as the Pacific Islands Forum endeavours to harness external interest for the collective benefit of member states, emphasizing collaboration, solidarity and resilience as principles for regional progress.