The new elected Secretary General of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Henry Puna has called on all Nation Members to keep Samoa in their thoughts and prayers.
Mr Puna said that the Forum stands ready to offer support and help for the country if requested as well as encouraging the parties to settle the differences for the peace of the nation.
“I ask each of us across our Member nations to keep the people of Samoa in our thoughts and prayers at this time, knowing that Samoa’s sovereign process and the world-renowned Fa’a Samoa will prevail at this critical moment in their history.” he added
“The Forum family is following closely the developments on the ground in Samoa and encourages all parties to pursue peaceful means to resolve their difficulties.” said the SG
Mr Puna called for a moment of reflection and solidarity across the Pacific Islands Forum for the people of Samoa where post-election events are making global headlines.
Henry Puna is the former Prime Minister of Cook Islands for 10 years. He was first appointed on 4th February 2021 as the Secretary-General, replacing Meg Taylor.
He also paid tribute to former Secretary General of the Forum, Dame Meg Taylor who will be returning to Papua New Guinea (PNG) once the borders open.
“I must honour the progress which my predecessor Dame Meg Taylor has achieved in her time at the helm and through the pandemic,” Mr Puna said. “her contribution and achievements during her tenure have my warmest respect and speak to her passion for the founding values of the Pacific Islands Forum” he added
Henry Puna says that he is coming into the role with an open mind, confidence in his team and an emphatic focus on the Forum family and values of regionalism.
“We will continue to serve all Members and I look forward to that ongoing engagement across our Forum family”
“It is a matter of looking after each other and supporting each other when challenge arise” he said
“If one succeeds, we all succeed and if one fails, it’s a shared failure. I am committed to working with all our Member nations to work towards strengthening the solidarity of our Forum family”
As the PIF Secretary General, Puna will serve as the Pacific Ocean Commissioner noting “The future of our ocean and work in oceans governance is of particular interest to me. Our Forum Members nations share a common border, our Blue Pacific Ocean and we are the custodians of its health, security and sustainability. This responsibility I take very seriously” he added
The Forum Secretary General also serves as permanent chair of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP), a role mandated to the Secretary General by Forum Leaders since 1995.
Mr Puna reaffirmed the importance of maintaining strong collective efforts to progress regional priorities including the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Continent, COVID-19, climate change, fisheries, maritime boundaries, nuclear legacy issues and continuing to engage with Members and Partners in preparation for the global launch of the Pacific Resilience Facility later this year.