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September 25, 2021
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Pacific prepares for high-level Economic, Trade meetings.

Pacific post-COVID-19 recovery and climate change are expected to dominate a series of back-to-back high-level Pacific Forum meetings planned for next week.

Agenda items, themes, and papers for Forum economic and trade ministerial meetings are being finalised this week by officials across the region. Finance and economic officials hope to complete discussions today aimed at setting the agenda for the annual Finance and Economic Ministerial meeting, from July 13th to 14th.

Today (July 8th), Pacific members of the Brussels-based Organisation of African, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS) will convene virtually to do the same for a Pacific ACP ministerial, next Thursday, July 15th. And this Friday, July 9th, Forum Trade officials will discuss the high-level agenda for next week’s Forum Trade Ministerial Meeting on July 16th.

A central theme of building back Pacific economic resilience and competitiveness post-COVID-19, sharing on the broad range of impacts and recovery from the pandemic, and the shift from business as usual is likely to lead to many agenda items. In opening comments to the Forum economic pre-ministerial meetings this week, Forum Secretary-General Henry Puna noted the substantive increases in debt levels as Governments have fought to combat the economic and health fall-out of the pandemic.

“We the Pacific people, are resilient people. We have faced many challenges in our history, and we have always fought back and won back. I believe that now is no exception. We will fight back, together, and we will win back, together,” SG Puna said. He noted the Pacific Resilience Facility as a “stellar example of what we can achieve together if only we put our minds to it and collectively inspire solutions that address our unique circumstances.”

Speaking of the sobering impacts of COVID-19 and the climate crisis on the Pacific, SG Puna said the challenges “must not stop us from being proactive, to innovate and develop home-grown solutions for the good of our Blue Pacific Continent and our people.”

Urging officials to use their meetings to develop solid recommendations, he acknowledged their input and guidance to the ministerial meetings.

Forum Trade and Economic Ministers will meet in a joint session on July 16th, putting the economic, trade, and related priorities to be aligned in the development of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent, into a regional and global context to help next steps and directions beyond the pandemic.

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