Regional economic ministers to meet: “the sense of urgency is real”

Media covering the FEMM with Vanuatu Director General Letlet August and PIFS Secretary General Henry Puna (seated)

The 2022 Forum Economic Ministers Meeting which gets underway in Vanuatu this week will see regional ministers and officials discuss post-Covid economic recovery, alongside improved access to important dialogues for the media.

Vanuatu’s  Director General, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Letlet August last night opened a masterclass for media covering the event with the encouraging words, “I welcome the new access you will have to the private sector and civil society.”

He continued: “We have seen from the COVID pandemic how misinformation can be as dangerous as lack of information. Information that is timely, accurate and relevant can not only change attitudes, it can save lives and turn economies back on track.”

Director General August said: “We have much to do, and the sense of urgency is very real. Economic health for our Pacific nations continues to be an important basis for real and lasting post-COVID economic recovery.”

Referring to the Pacific Island Forum’s 2050 strategy—a long-term roadmap for regional cooperation–he encouraged media to “keep asking the questions that will keep the development of the 2050 pathway in the front of our leaders mind, today and the next 30 years.’’

The meeting, which is themed ‘Towards a Resilient Economic Recovery and Stability’, will officially open tomorrow. although officials are meeting today. Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna, highlighted some of the key issues on the agenda including:

  • The new 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and “how this will contribute to shaping and refining our collective economic aspiration moving forward.”
  • Economic recovery and stability
  • Developments in the Pacific Resilience Facility
  • Finally, and he says “perhaps most importantly”, Climate and Disaster Risk Finance opportunities in the region including updates on the critical regional climate finance agenda.

Puna reiterated the importance of working collectively to navigate the complexities and challenges the region faces. “The values of unity and regional cooperation have carried our leaders in some of the most defining moment in our Pacific history, these same values will continue to guide our collective efforts moving forward if we hang on to them tightly,” he said.

The Secretary General reminded the media cohort to be bold.

“Let me encourage you all to be bold, but also to be honest and straight- be bold in your reporting. Be bold in your reporting and be bold in the way you craft and shape our regional narratives about our own efforts to make our way in this world, as a Blue Pacific Continent.”