Forum SG Henry Puna

At the Teieniwa Talanoa Event on Pacific Unity Against Corruption in Suva today, Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Henry Puna delivered a powerful message, stressing the importance of reflecting on key moments that have shaped the region.

Puna’s remarks highlighted the critical need for collective unity in the ongoing battle against corruption in the Pacific.

“It’s an important aspect of regionalism that we take the time to remember the milestone moments and declarations which have shaped our nations, and this region.”

Recalling his role as the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands on 05 February 2020, at a Pacific-wide anti-corruption meeting in Tarawa, Puna highlighted the core challenge faced by the region.

“In our discussions, we kept coming back to one of the core challenges confronting regional security and solidarity – indeed, the very future of our Blue Pacific.”

“Corruption in all its forms and across all parts of our communities has beset the governance and government agenda from the founding days of our nations, threatening peace and security, unity, and rule of law.

“We had the Biketawa and Boe declarations in mind, and global anti-corruption commitments to also guide us. We ended our two-day session on a high note, endorsing an exciting vision for ways to achieve a Pacific free of corruption.

“This is the vision of Teieniwa,” emphasised Puna.

By February 2021, all Forum leaders united in endorsing the Vision, symbolising unity for national and regional benefits. Key tenets of the leaders’ commitment included people, sustainable development, and political will.

At the latest Forum meeting in the Cook Islands, Pacific leaders identified and launched Blue Pacific Partnerships for Prosperity, aiming to catalyse action and change for a better world.

In 2024, with the countdown to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals ongoing, Puna acknowledged progress but said, “there is still work to do.”

Highlighting collective efforts, he acknowledged progress not just from governments but from partners present – media, youth, global partners within the UN, and regional Pacific organisations.

“The Forum team like all other Pacific regional organisations, is in the early stages of implementing the Pacific 2050 strategy”.

“As we roll out our workplans for 2024 and the next five years, we know the Teieniwa Vision provides key opportunities for linking good governance to a Pacific that is truly peaceful, truly resilient, and secure,” Puna stressed.

The event aimed to continue conversations and awareness, informing and guiding values for a better Pacific Way– where there is a place for all of us, and where no one is left behind.

“May we continue the conversations that shed light and prompt action for a secure, safe, and corruption free Pacific,” said Puna.