21 October 2019 (Apia, Samoa) – Speaking at the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum, PIDF SG Amb. Mara said that he encouraged further collaboration between Pacific island countries and China… and other emerging economies. As a platform for South-South Cooperation. He added “PIDF was there to support if and when needed as we move forward to develop a regional framework and a hub for Pacific South-South Cooperation.”
“All around us we see the collapse of key eco-systems and this is pushing the planet into its sixth mass extinction. To avoid the worst-case scenario becoming a reality, we need to urgently address all those socio-economic activities that are adversely affecting the health of this one planet we all call home.” Ambassador Mara said.
“Our emphasis on climate change arises from the fact that for all countries – but especially for Pacific Island Countries – climate change underpins all the sustainable development challenges that we face. Any progress we make towards the achievement of the SDGs are set back by the effects of climate change. Thus it stands to reason that we cannot hope to achieve sustainable development for our people unless we simultaneously address the impacts of climate change. The two have become indivisible.” He added, “But climate is not the only driver of our current ecosystem collapse. There are others, such as the obsession of our current economic system for more and more growth; the over dependence on fossil fuel to drive this economic growth, leading to the unsustainable and over exploitation of resources beyond its
natural capacity to recover; the transport of invasive species across borders; the over-reliance on chemicals to grow our food; bad land-use practices that are threatening important habitats; the loss of many of our forests; the rising acidity of our oceans and the resulting coral bleaching; and many more. All these challenges require targeted actions, but what all of them have in common is the need for political will to address them. We need to move beyond the conference halls and put in place common-sense, meaningful action plans, working together with our communities and citizens to address these problems by developing locally appropriate and inclusive solutions.”
“And solutions exist,” Ambassador Mara said. “As the Pacific Island platform for South-South Cooperation, PIDF has been promoting the South-South Cooperation modality to address many of our problems in the Pacific. Many of our problems are not unique to us, even if the context may be. Although we are grateful for the assistance of the economies of the North to the Pacific’s development efforts, it should not be taken for granted that our Pacific people want to follow in the footsteps of our Northern neighbours and pursue the same development path, which I might add, is responsible for the climate crisis we face today. We are all aware of the environmental impacts of that economic model. We do not want to repeat those same mistakes. In fact we cannot afford to repeat those same mistakes. Our islands, the ocean that surrounds it and its ecology are just too fragile to withstand anymore developmental onslaught that is based on ‘more is better’ or ‘growth means more’ principle of neo-liberal economics.”