It is with great privilege and honor that I wish to address this esteemed Assembly on this day of the opening ceremony of the 14th Regional Meeting of the ACP/EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Port-Vila.

Please allow me to say “alo mo welkam long Port Vila"”!

Many of you have travelled far, leaving your busy schedules to join your pacific colleagues here in Port-Vila, to exchange on issues that are tailored to bring positive impacts to the well-being of our people.  For that, I would like to express my sincere gratitude and once more to join the Speaker of Parliament in welcoming you all to our beautiful shores. 

As you know the Pacific region faces unique challenges in terms of geographic location and size. We are mostly some islands with limited resources and prone to natural catastrophes such as sea level rise, cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Despite all these constraints, Honorable Members of Parliament, I believe this forum is essential and timely as it is geared to tackle these challenges.  You will have time to discuss in the coming days, agendas of the utmost importance to the Pacific regions, to the ACP as an institution and as well as to the European Union.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Declaration of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly on Climate change is an important millstone which the ACP-EU Community has embarked on to address the dramatic effects of climate change on our environment last month in St. Julian, Malta.

Despite, the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, this distinguished Assembly has fully reaffirmed its total commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate change. For that, I wish to register, on behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu, our sincere gratitude, and believer-affirm the Government of the Republic of Vanuatu’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the ACP-EU relationship and the global community to maintain this momentum for further ambitious action.

The upcoming COP 23 is again another opportunity for the Pacific islands countries to showcase solidarity among the Pacific islands towards the full commitment to the work undertaken by the United Nations Conventions on Climate Change.

Distinguished Guests,

Another issue that I wish to make reference to is the ACP-EU relations. The future of the cooperation between our two institutions is at the edge of its term. It’s been 42 years of a long journey, walking side by side in addressing worldwide issues of common interest to our respective people with determination and distinction.

Distinguished Guest,

The lessons learn from this long walk and experience, are and will be the basis of a strong foundation for a better and stronger cooperation and relations between our two institutions. The key strategic pillars that have been identified will form the center of the post 2020 negotiations as they fit the global agenda and meet the needs of our citizens. The ACP Partnership with the European Union is crucial and we must ensure that effective mechanisms are clearly defined to ensure this partnership is solid.

Honorable members’ ladies and gentlemen,

You have a busy schedule ahead of you, and I am not meant to take more of your time but to wish you all a successful deliberation over the coming days. And I believe that working together will set out clear path to addressing issues that are affecting the very existences of our people.

Please take the time to enjoy the warm hospitality of the Vanuatu people during your stay here in Port-Vila.

Once again, on behalf of the Government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu, may I reiterate to you all our warm greetings and we wish you to enjoy a pleasant stay in our shores and may God’s divine blessings be upon you all.

It is now my singular honor and privilege to officially declare the 14th Regional meeting of the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, open!

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