By Pita Ligaiula in Port Vila
Pacific economies are still struggling to recover from the burdens brought forth by COVID19 and record positive economic growth, says Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau.
In his remark at the opening of the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting (FEMM) in Port Vila, Kalsakau said the risk of climate change to island economies is threatening the livelihoods of Pacific peoples and communities.
“We are not the cause of some of those major challenges, but we bear the burden. In the worst-case scenario, the de-risking in correspondent banking in small island states will have great negative implications on our mutual efforts to fight poverty and socio-economic inequalities. But, as if those were not enough, we must now deal with high food prices, inflation and supply chain breakdown.
“Any of these challenges has the ability to bring any of our economies back downward. The current instability in East Europe and the U.S-China tension, coupled with the de-risking in correspondent banking, are not helping the global fight against poverty alleviation and against socio-economic inequality and inequity.
“As leaders, we must continue to stand united, we must continue to voice our concerns to the international community that the world needs peace and harmony to effectively fight poverty and inequality,” he said.
Kalsakau also emphasised the importance of implementing the 2050 strategy.
“Without effective implementation, a strategy cannot create value, cannot create change and cannot benefit the people it is intended to benefit. The 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent must be implemented.
“We must be committed, at regional and national level, to protect and secure our people, our place and our prospects. Our development partners must stand with us, they must commit resources to foster the socio-economic wellbeing of our people and maintain dignity in their daily livelihood.
“We are proud that we have a regional strategy that outlines our long-term vision to protect and secure our people, place and prospect.
“Dialogues like this are important in the process of effective policy development, fine-tuning, re-setting and implementation,” he stressed.
He also thanked partners for their continuous commitment for a better Pacific region.
“Our united effort and commitment, in collaboration with our development partners, is warranted and it cannot be weary.
“Today we are faced with so many challenges. The theme for this meeting ‘Towards a resilient economic recovery and stability’ is relevant at this time of uncertainty. I comment on our united efforts to voice our concerns internationally over the past many years until today.
“Our success was measured in the past as reflected by the successful Nuclear Free Pacific campaign in the 1980s. But let us not be complacent. Let us trust the ingenuity of our people and continue to strive for a better and safer Pacific Region for our people,” he said.