Pacific leaders attending the 77th United Nations General Assembly for the first time since 2019 have met in a special event hosted by the Prime Minster of Samoa Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, as Chair of the Pacific Islands Developing States, PSIDS.
In a speech at the PSIDS welcome reception, PM Mata’afa thanked Portugal for EUR50,000(US$49,000) to support the 2023 work programme for Pacific SIDS. She also welcomed development partners from Denmark, Norway the EU and Caribbean, as well as the OACPS Director General Chikoti, and Australia and New Zealand.
“As we start the formal 77th session of the UNGA tomorrow, we are reminded of how fragile and uncertain our world can be,” she said, “the war in Ukraine has affected us all….it is also an unwanted distraction in our collective journey towards achieving the SDGs”.
She noted the urgency of the global climate emergency, saying it “cannot be side-lined any longer”.
“As Pacific SIDS, climate continues to impact our lives on a daily basis. Climate disasters have almost doubled over ht elast 20 years in our region. Cyclones and hurrianes, tsunamis, and more recently, volcanic eruptions in Tonga and continuing seismic activity in the ring of fire, are a stark reality of the challenges we face,” she said, “a single hurricane can set back our development 10 to 20 years, and more in some cases.”
“I believe the solutions are within us all, but we need political leadership, courage, commitment and sacrifice”
The Samoa leader noted the need for partners “to collaborate with us in supporting recovery strategies post-COVID that fit our vulnerability, context, and economic potential.”