Mahuta says 2050 Strategy will keep Pacific connected, free and safe

Nanaia Mahuta, front second from right, with Pacific Islands Forum leaders and officials and children at the CSO roundtable in Suva.
Fiji Minfo
Nanaia Mahuta, front second from right, with Pacific Islands Forum leaders and officials and children at the CSO roundtable in Suva.

The 2050 Pacific Strategy, endorsed at the Leaders Summit in Fiji, is a commitment to stay connected for a free, safe and prosperous region, says Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern are both attending the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in Suva.

Addressing the 2050 Strategy Civil Society Organisations roundtable on Wednesday, Mahuta said CSOs have made a fundamental difference to the way in which governments think about the community,

She said when governments were unaware of the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was the civil society organisations (CSO) hard at work inside their communities.

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More than 80 civil society leaders from Tonga, Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Fiji and Australia, and the diaspora community in New Zealand attended the CSO forum. The event was organised by the Pacific Islands Association of NGOs (PIANGO) and the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS).

Mahuta said civil society organisations provided a very strong backbone to many countries’ Covid-19 responses.

She said CSOs knew where the vulnerabilities were during the pandemic, and “they knew how to reach out and support them in times of uncertainty.

“Governments may not have all the solutions, but collaboratively, when we work with civil societies, we are at an advantage in the way we respond to challenges. Civil societies bring solutions to the table.”

She also said the CSOs made a fundamental difference in the way governments think about the community.

Mahuta commended the work CSOs performed during times of crisis. “Your perspective is unique, your input is essential, and your voices have contributed to a strong and ambitious guiding document that we can all be proud of.”

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her Tuvalu counterpart Simon Kofe.
NZ High Commission
Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her Tuvalu counterpart Simon Kofe.

PIANGO secretary Sepesa Rasili stressed the significance of the 2050 Strategy, saying it would be inherited by the children and further amplify the voices of the CSO sector.

“This will also secure the region’s future against the challenges of today and the coming decades, for a free, safe and prosperous region.”

Mahuta said the forum provided an opportunity to hear perspectives from CSOs and the way they could contribute to the Pacific 2050 strategy.

“Pacific development partners and their unique perspectives, essential input and voices have contributed to a strong and ambitious draft Pacific 2050 Strategy that we can all be proud of.

“The 2050 Strategy is testament to the region’s commitment to stay connected and to work together to achieve a shared vision of a resilient Pacific region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion and prosperity that ensures all Pacific people can be free and healthy in their productive lives.”

FCOSS executive Vani Catanasiga said CSOs complemented the role of their governments to ensure alignment with the principles of development effectiveness that focuses on ownership, results, partnerships, transparency and shared responsibility.

The Pacific 2050 Strategy was endorsed at the forum leaders’ retreat on Thursday.