Chair of the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) Ilana Seid met with Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI) Tepaeru Herrmann at the end of April in Rarotonga.

Ambassador Seid, who is based in New York and Palau’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), was in Rarotonga to attend the Pacific preparatory meeting for the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC2) that will meet in Paris at the end of May.

Ambassador Seid will lead the Pacific advocacy to the Senior official’s component of the upcoming INC2 in her role as current PSIDS Chair.

During preparatory workshop discussions supported by the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), the Cook Islands and the Pacific looked at taking to INC2 a firm stance on plastics – upstream production as well as downstream waste management – and to ensure that measures agreed on are legally binding.

In addition to discussing the Pacific’s approach to INC2, Ambassador Seid and Secretary Herrmann discussed strengthening collaboration and alliances between PSIDS and the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) as well as the Alliance of Small Islands States (AOSIS), which is presently chaired by Samoa.

“I welcomed this rare opportunity to meet with Ambassador Seid, both in her capacity as Palau Ambassador to the UN and Chair of PSIDS to discuss in person current PSIDS and PIF priorities and how we might work together, as well as with Samoa in their capacity as Chair of AOSIS to better co-ordinate our efforts and global advocacy to secure stronger and earlier outcomes for the people of the Pacific,” said Secretary Herrmann.

“Whether that advocacy takes place within our Pacific region, at the United Nations in New York, or in gatherings of governments around the world on issues such as climate change action and financing or oceans innovation and sustainable development, there is much to be gained for our Pacific people from more concerted and sustained liaison between the Chairs of the three groupings of PIF, PSIDS, and AOSIS.”

The Pacific Small Islands Developing States comprises 14 of the 18 Pacific Islands Forum member states which includes the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu and operate as an ad hoc negotiating and lobbying body at the United Nations.

AOSIS represents the interests of 39 small island and low-lying coastal developing states, including members of PSIDS, in international climate change, sustainable development negotiations, and processes.

As a voice for the vulnerable, the AOSIS mandate is more than amplifying marginalised voices and advocates for the 39 member countries’ interests, with AOSIS closely resembling the countries it represents on the stage but often punching far above its weight, negotiating historic global commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other achievements.

During their discussions, Secretary Herrmann and Ambassador Seid also discussed regional and bilateral matters, including the PIF Leaders Meeting to convene in the Cook Islands from 06 – 10 November and how the Pacific might strengthen preparations towards the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) meeting to convene in Dubai at the end of November.

“Palau and the Cook Islands have much in common – both have a sea of islands, tourism-reliant economies, large diaspora populations, and in recent years, have graduated to high-level income status for development funding purposes,” said Secretary Herrmann.

“We had a useful exchange on our respective COVID-19 response and recovery approaches, including flights connectivity and uplift expansion; oceans innovation and sustainable development and planning to strengthen our forward advocacy efforts as relates to access to development finance,” she said.