Your Royal Highness Haakon, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Norway and your delegation
Your Highness, Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II,
Ministers of Cabinet
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the Government and people of Samoa I am pleased to warmly welcome Your Royal Highness and delegation to Apia. The long distances you have traveled to come to the Pacific is an indication of our remoteness and isolation and inherent vulnerabilities as small islands developing states.
Your Highness, while there are obvious differences between our two countries apart from geographical dispositions, our mutual interests and shared concerns highlight many similarities that allow for a coalescing of perspectives. Our respective histories, cultures and the livelihoods of our peoples are very much linked to the ocean and its resources. Similarly we are already weathering the impacts and the serious challenges of climate change including extreme weather events which are now more frequent and severe than before. The risks climate change pose to the Ocean and its resources is a huge concern with the onset of ocean acidification and the impacts of plastic waste. Climate change and environmental damage are destroying our ecosystems, with negative repercussions for development, health and food security. Ambitious global climate action is critical and urgent hence the call for the effective implementation of nationally determined contributions. Samoa and Norway both share a deep concern for the future of our planet and should remain united in the continuous call for urgent climate action to fight against the adverse impacts of climate change.
As large ocean states, Norway and the Blue Pacific continent will continue to pursue genuine and durable partnerships and initiatives to ensure the sustainable management of our oceans and its resources. Norway’s hosting of the “Our Oceans” Conference in Oslo this year, which is your program to combat marine plastic pollution and ongoing support for the Ocean Pathway are some of the key initiatives that are highly commended.
We will continue to work with Norway especially at the UN to ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to find solutions to challenges faced by the global community, particularly on climate change and oceans but also on human rights, terrorism and international peace and security. This year we are reviewing the SAMOA Pathway, and we will count on Norway’s continuous support to ensure the implementation of this key framework for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.
Your Highness and distinguished delegation, I understand that you have a busy program tomorrow. I look forward to our further discussions tomorrow morning. With the limited time you have in Samoa, it is my hope that through your climate change site visits you will also be able to experience a part of our culture and our way of life. As Samoa is the last stop of your Pacific visit, we thank you for saving the best for last. May you have safe return travels home.
I would now like to propose a toast.
To the good health and success of His Royal Highness Haakon Crown Prince of Norway, especially for our enhanced partnership into the future and to peace and prosperity of our two countries for generations to come.