Partnerships and advocacy for urgent climate change action, partnerships for a new regional resilience financing facility, and a reinvigorated vision for regionalism towards 2050 are key aspects of a mission to Australia this week for Pacific Islands Forum Secretary-General, Henry Puna.
While he is currently working from Auckland pending onward travel to Suva, SG Puna is taking advantage of the Trans-Tasman (Australia-New Zealand) travel bubble to attend bilateral meetings with a range of Forum partners and stakeholders towards the upcoming pledging event to raise US$1.5 billion in funding for the Pacific Resilience Facility. A key focus of his appointments is to raise advocacy on and align partnerships towards Pacific priorities, including climate change negotiations which have begun virtually and will culminate at COP26 in Glasgow later this year.
“The disruptions caused by COVID-19 restrictions mean I am unable to take up the established precedent of in-country visits across the Forum membership. Despite this, I am cognisant that the integral work of advocacy and strategic positioning of our Pacific priorities must continue,” SG Puna said.
“Despite the delays in reaching Suva, the NZ-Australia bubble provides some key opportunities to progress our work program in the interest of the collective membership,” he added.
The Secretary General will be a keynote speaker in the opening plenary of the annual Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit from 24 to 25 June 2021 in Sydney. The Summit, now in its 8th year, is led by the Australia’s Carbon Market Institute (CMI), an independent industry association for business leading the transition to net-zero emissions. CMI has a diverse membership including primary producers, carbon project developers, heavy emitters, large corporate, finance and service organisations—many of them active investors in the Pacific.
Previous keynote speakers have included Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, former Kiribati President Anote Tong, and former Forum SG Dame Meg Taylor.