Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese meets Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown and his wife Daphne in Canberra last month. TWITTER/22071105
We will respond to the needs and priorities of Pacific nations without imposing unsustainable financial burdens or expecting something in return, writes Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
Which is in a message to Pacific partners ahead of the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting .
I’m delighted to be visiting Fiji this week for the Pacific Islands Forum — the region’s premier political and economic policy organisation.
For more than half a century, this Forum
has been gathering in the Pacific Way. Bringing many voices together from
across our beautiful and diverse islands. And projecting a strong voice across
the vast Pacific Ocean and around the world.
For all of us, the Pacific is our home. As
island nations, we are fellow voyagers. We share a love of the ocean that
connects us; of the tides that bring us closer together; and the communities to
which we belong.
We know we’re stronger together, and that unity
is founded on listening and respect.
Australia, the Pacific is our home and our heart. We treasure our bonds of
friendship. We value our diversity, and yet we have so much in common.
always been there for each other in times of need — from fighting together
in defence of liberty during the Second World War through to responding collectively
to more recent natural disasters.
this year, Australia was proud to help Tonga after the devastating eruption of
the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai volcano. Australians have been touched by the support
from our Pacific neighbours during recent bushfires and floods.
Pacific Islands Forum has long been an important dialogue for our region, and
this week is an opportunity for leaders to continue our conversation about the sort
of region we want to be.
island nations of the Pacific are global leaders on climate change. You are
careful stewards of the beautiful Blue Pacific.
as you know all too well, our region is facing an urgent climate challenge.
we’ve seen rising sea levels, saltwater incursion, food and water insecurity,
biodiversity loss and an increasing frequency of extreme weather events.
know climate change is an existential threat for many of our Pacific
under my Government, Australia will re-establish ourselves as a trusted climate
partner and do our part keep 1.5 degrees of warming within reach. My government
has increased Australia’s ambition, and have committed to reducing Australia’s
emissions to 43 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. We will reach net zero by
We’re also committed to supporting the
Pacific’s leadership and voice on climate change, and will stand with you in
calling for greater action from countries around the world.
Already, my Government has announced new
support for partners in our region including through a new Pacific Climate
Infrastructure Financing Partnership to fund climate-related infrastructure and
energy projects in Pacific countries and an increase to our Official
Development Assistance to help with climate change adaptation and resilience in
security, we all share a desire for a stable, peaceful and prosperous region
where the rule of law and the sovereignty of all nations are respected.
know there are significant security and geostrategic challenges before us. But
we are strongest when we stand together. We have a proud record of responding
collectively to challenges — whether it’s assisting each other in the wake of
natural disasters; cooperating to counter illegal and unregulated fishing of
our seas; or collective responses like RAMSI and the Solomons International
in the Pacific look out for each other. We know the security decisions taken by
any one of us affect the other members of our community. That’s true for
friends and neighbours in a village or town; and it’s just as true for a
community of nations like ours.
collective security depends on our own decisions, as well as the decisions of
our fellow island nations. We must work together to protect the Blue Pacific —
and each other. Australia is committed to doing our part to address our shared
want to be a healthy and prosperous region, too.
know the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been devastating for Pacific Island
nations — with a tragic loss of lives and livelihoods.
has been proud to work with Pacific nations through the pandemic, including by
providing end-to-end support for the rollout of safe and effective vaccines.
island nations can also depend on Australia to deliver quality, sustainable
development investments that create local jobs and contribute to economic growth.
will respond to the needs and priorities of Pacific nations without imposing
unsustainable financial burdens or expecting something in return.
region also has deep wellsprings of culture that should be celebrated.
is proud to be home to a vibrant and diverse Pacific diaspora community.
benefit tremendously from this, and we want to expand access for Pacific
peoples to our labour market and migration program, and ensure workers are
treated fairly and have access to good working conditions.
also want to share the rich heritage of our First Nations peoples more fully
with our Pacific neighbours.
are proud to be home to the oldest continuous living culture in the world, and
we can learn so much from the wisdom of Indigenous peoples right across the
we turn our minds to the next chapter in our shared story, I believe we face
us seize these opportunities together as One Blue Pacific.
us shape the future together, instead of letting the future shape us.