Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna says it is a sad fact that everyday, thousands of criminals go to work with the sole intention of inflicting harm on innocent people across the globe, including here in the Blue Pacific Continent.

“We cannot, and will not, let them win.

“One only has to look around the region to see examples of this.

“The Vanuatu Government’s IT system was effectively shut down late last year.

“The Republic of Marshall Islands faced a similar attack a few months prior.

“Millions of Australians have lost personal information in attacks on Optus and Medibank Private.

“It is fair to say that we have many challenges ahead in the way we develop, use and secure our technology.

Yet we also have a plan to meet those challenges head on,” said SG Puna Monday in his keynote address at the Pacific Cyber security building and coordination conference in Denarau, Nadi.

He said Forum Leaders will reunite in Rarotonga in November this year to launch an implementation plan for the 2050 Strategy.

“The implementation plan takes stock of the many efforts across the region already underway to address our most pressing opportunities and challenges, including in the cyber domain.

“It also sets out a range of key new actions that we as a region will undertake to move us closer to our leaders’ vision of a safe and prosperous region.

“We know that there are many partners with the skills and resources to be able to help us confront our challenges in the cyber domain. It is very heartening to see such support exists. It is greatly appreciated.

However, without taking that assistance for granted, we wish to ensure that every dollar, every euro, every minute of assistance provided to us is done so in the most effective manner,” SG Puna emphasised.

He said the 2050 Strategy launched last year for the Blue Pacific Continent, leaders painted a vision for a future in which all Pacific peoples benefit from access to affordable, safe and reliable ICT infrastructure, systems and operations, while ensuring culturally sensitive user-protection and cyber security.

“To see donors and governments coming together to discuss and agree areas of support, moving forward, is the model of partnerships that we should increasingly move torwards.

“It is an approach that has the most likelihood of long-term, sustainable success.
Coherent and consistent coordination across the various partners will be key to the effectiveness to the support in this sector. To that end, I am pleased to know that coordination is a key focus of this week’s gathering,” said SG Puna.

Recognising the interest of our Pacific Leaders in this area and remaining abreast of the developments as they evolve, I would urge partners and implementing agencies alike, to continue to engage the Pacific Islands Forum in your discussions both amongst partners as well as in the region with our Members, he said.

“On that note, the Forum Chair, Cook Islands, is currently working with Forum Members to develop a suite of high-priority regional interventions under the flagship of ‘Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity’, that will draw global attention and resources to some of our region’s largest challenges.

“Among these challenges, the Forum Chair has highlighted cybersecurity for particular attention. Once Forum Leaders have considered this proposal further, we will work with you all, as key stakeholders in cybersecurity in the Pacific, to structure that partnership appropriately,” said SG Puna.