VISION: “Resetting the Pacific Blue Continent: Towards 2030”
The Forum’s Pacific Vision is for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity, so that all Pacific people can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.
“Lalanga” or weaving is a tradition that is common in communities and societies of the Pacific, whether from Micronesia to Melanesia and Polynesia. This fundamental skill of our communities to weave baskets, mats, clothing or fishing nets entails a patient and careful approach by multiple hands, laying strand upon strand, with overarching view of what the finished creation will be. Lalanga, however, is more than weaving. As our ancestors have taught us, the lessons of Lalanga coordination, cooperation, commitment, and care (4Cs) can be applied methodically through our life’s challenges.
“In resetting the pathways for the Blue Pacific, we should enhance our traditional knowledge of the 4C’s. For a new normal, the regional architecture must be enhanced and sustained to ensure that the 4Cs of the Pacific Lalanga drive the Blue Pacific narrative and regional actions, and deepen collective responsibility and accountability to deliver on the promises of sustainable development under the prospective 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy. The strands of 4Cs for the Lalanga must be stronger and more assertive”, Amelia Kinahoi Siamomua.
The Agreement Establishing the Pacific Islands Forum is an achievement for the region and its purpose to strengthen regional cooperation and integration remains undiminished. The Pacific Island Forum’s vision for its peoples is one that is both familiar and ever-evolving, in response to the changing currents of the new world regime. Resetting the Blue Pacific has to be a Pacific story driven by the Pacific leaders’ aspirations for a region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and economic prosperity through assertive diplomacy, assessing the diverse voices and paying much more attention to the large swaths of the Pacific Blue Continent.
Understanding the global mega trends is crucial. We are living in times of growing interest of the world in the Pacific which requires a rethink and reset of the Forum’s security and foreign policy positions to safeguard the stability and strengthen the resilience and sustainable development of the Blue Continent. The shocks of COVID-19 are causing the world economies to experience the deepest global recession in decades, despite the extraordinary efforts of governments to counter the downturn with fiscal and monetary policy support.
To eliminate and stop the spread of COVID-19 and its impacts, means not reverting to business as usual. It is instead an opportunity to get it right, so that no one is left behind and that we could be in the same boat and we all come through this together. It is an opportunity to reinforce the links between climate actions and sustainable development, adaptation responses with goals of environmental conservation, economic development and societal wellbeing of all peoples of the Pacific.
We are confronted with common challenges, and we must manage shared responsibilities and exercise collective action, for a region of peace, harmony, inclusive and prosperity for all its people. At this critical juncture, we must ask: Is Pacific regionalism robust and ambitious enough to navigate this new terrain effectively, and are the 4Cs working?
The Pacific Islands Forum is a coalition of the willing to protect the interests of its member states. It is committed to ensuring that the future of the Blue Pacific cannot simply be left to chance, but requires a collective commitment to achieve it. The 4Cs of coordination, cooperation, commitment and care are not new, but need rejuvenation with more assertive diplomacy, development cooperation and investment now to support member countries to manage the long-lasting shock of COVID-19 and realise the Forum’s vision and global goals under the 2030 Agenda.
Strengthening the 4Cs
The greatest risks of the final decade towards 2030 are present, and every effort must be better coordinated, every opportunity for development cooperation must be seized to prevent further shocks, and manage existing shocks for the Blue Pacific.
The Blue Pacific is uniquely placed to strengthen the 4Cs and connect the dots to overcome these challenges. To build back better, it must take a holistic approach and strengthen the mutually-reinforcing linkages between peace and security, sustainable development and economic recovery, social protection and universal health coverage. The Framework for Pacific Regionalism, the Samoa Pathway, the Blue Pacific Narrative, the Agenda 2030, and the Paris Climate Agreement, the 2050 Strategy layout a clear strategy for action and 2021 presents a unique opportunity that must be seized.
The commitment of Forum Leaders to act now is demonstrated in the 2019 Forum Leaders endorsement of a 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. It is a reflection of a commitment to urgency for making it happen.
The 2050 Strategy must be concrete, with binding and realistically achievable targets, and with the financial capacity and investments for implementation. As we have learned from our ancestors, the 2050 Strategy during such an unprecedented epoch should not ignore our traditional 4Cs. Through our history of cooperation, mechanisms, and responses to coordinate economic and humanitarian aid can seamlessly be integrated. The key elements of the complex challenges of the vulnerable Pacific infrastructures and increasing costs as related to development assistance and foreign policy are also critical to the 2050 Strategy. More assertive diplomacy is needed with attention to multilateral mechanisms and protocols to boost Pacific regionalism for building back better. Let’s not forget our traditional knowledge.
The common threats must be tackled using the 4Cs of Lalanga of coordination, cooperation commitment, and care for a better Blue Pacific.
Coordinate for effectiveness delivery
Coordinate at all levels requires leadership and better coordination, including with CROP agencies to leverage resources and foster inclusive engagement
Co-ordinate to create unique opportunities for effective policy dialogue and consensus building, and development programmes for the region
Strategic cooperation at all levels – national, regional and global for coherence and effectiveness delivery.
Cooperation avoiding duplication
Cooperation with and not competing with but with strong genuine durable partnerships and a surge in diplomacy for peace and development
Actively, consistently, and tirelessly exercise good offices; honest broker; bridge builder and messenger of Pacific regionalism
Seizing synergies of working together in addressing regional priorities
Enhance engagement with civil society and the private sector
Collective responsibility instead of circumstantial individual interests
Accountability at all levels
Medium and long-term resilience and development
Collective mobilization to foster inclusion, solidarity
For many it means survival and duty of care must drive actions
Strengthening member countries capacity to prevent violations and abuses, ensuring accountability
Empowerment of the most vulnerable groups and fully respecting humanitarian principles
As the “chief executive officer”, the Secretary General, must maintain unwavering commitment to transparency, accountability and oversight. The SG must lead by example and impose the highest ethical standards on everyone serving in the Forum Secretariat.
Diversity and heritage of the Pacific
Good governance, democracy, human rights, gender equality, justice, peace, inclusion, accountability
These values are central to all cultures, traditions and religious beliefs