Statement - 5th France-Oceania Summit (19 July 2021)
1. We, Heads of State, Government and Territories or representatives of France, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, French Polynesia, the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Republic of Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna, together with representatives of the regional organisations, reaffirm our commitment to the unity and solidarity of the Pacific family, in the face of COVID-19 and its consequences, as well as the other common challenges, such as climate change, we face. In this regard, we welcome the Pacific region’s efforts to strengthen Pacific regionalism as one Blue Pacific and to develop the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism. We also welcome the important and longstanding partnership between the Pacific Islands region and France and the European Union including as Pacific Islands Forum Dialogue Partners and development partners.
2. Deeply concerned that the COVID-19 health and socio-economic crisis has delayed progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and exacerbated inequalities between and within countries, we recognize the importance of sustainable financing, that is simple and easy to access by small developing Pacific Island countries, for a green, resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery, aligned with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. We recognise the need to use available resources in the most efficient, socio-economically and environmentally sustainable way in order to address the investment gap in sustainable infrastructure. We acknowledge the need for investment that promotes fair and open competition and upholds quality standards while ensuring developing countries’ debt sustainability. We support capacity development for planning and preparation of key infrastructure projects and foster the emergence of bankable projects.
3. Recalling the Boe Declaration, Kainaki II Declaration on Urgent Climate Change Action Now, the Taputapuatea Declaration, and the Vemööre Declaration, and that climate change and biodiversity loss threaten regional stability, food security, sustainable development and human health, we reaffirm our shared commitment to effectively combat climate change, halt loss of biodiversity and address the climate-ocean nexus, joining our efforts in support of a strong Blue Pacific voice in international fora.
4. After the 4th France-Oceania Summit convened in Paris on the eve of COP 21, we reiterated our firm support to the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, which we regard as a framework for ambitious action on climate change, and the commitment to work for the success of the forthcoming COP 26. We emphasise the importance of addressing climate change with a heightened sense of urgency and ambition, with Forum Leaders recognising climate change as the single greatest threat to the Blue Pacific region.
5. We call on all Parties who have not yet done so to communicate or update, ahead of COP 26, nationally determined contributions and long term strategies aligned with pursuing efforts to limit global average temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. We also call on developed countries to meet the collective finance commitment of jointly mobilizing $100 billion per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties. This should include financing for adaptation and resilience, welcoming the Framework for
Resilient Development in the Pacific and the new initiatives such as the Pacific Resilience Facility.
6. Recognizing that access to sustainable energy plays a key role in climate change mitigation and in the post-pandemic recovery, we reiterate our will to strengthen coordinated efforts to accelerate the energy transition, notably through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance and the Niulakita declaration.
7. We underline that our ocean plays a critical role in combating climate change, preserving biodiversity, and supporting sustainable development and yet with ongoing threats and exploitation, more must be done to protect our ocean. Forum Leaders priorities, concerns and commitment in this regard are set out in the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Ocean Statement 2021.
8. In acknowledging the threats posed by climate change-related sea-level rise to regional security, peace, prosperity and development, we share the importance of further discussing the issue of how best to ensure the preservation of maritime zones, properly delineated in accordance with UNCLOS, and considering that the principles of stability, security, certainty and predictability, as key principles underlying UNCLOS, are also relevant to the issue of sea -level rise.
9. In view of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille and the COP15 to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, we advocate for an objective of 30% of the ocean covered by effectively managed marine protected areas, in the post 2020 biodiversity framework, noting that some countries in the Pacific have already exceeded this target.
10. We will work to conclude, as soon as possible in 2022, a new and ambitious treaty to protect biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction and recognize the ocean in areas beyond national jurisdiction as a global common to be preserved for the benefit of present and future generations.
11. We recognize that plastic pollution is an existential threat for ecosystems in general, and marine ecosystems and species in particular, with dire consequences on the health and resilience of the oceans and resources therein and with adverse flow on impact on economies and social equilibrium. Noting plastic pollution’s disproportionate impact on the Pacific Ocean and Pacific
Island Countries in general, particularly considering they do not extract fossil fuels nor produce plastics and their additives, we support a decision to launch intergovernmental negotiations of a global plastic binding agreement at the second session of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly.
12. We reaffirm our commitments under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region and related Protocols.
13. We stress the importance of nature based solutions as part of long term approaches to build resilience to climate change impacts and disasters, and appreciate in this regard the Kiwa Initiative, with the financial support of France, the EU, New Zealand, Australia and Canada. The additional contributions recently approved by the European Union, New Zealand and France bring the total financing made available to strengthen the resilience of Pacific countries and territories’ ecosystems, economies, and communities to nearly €41 million.
14. We reaffirm the importance of regional solidarity, cooperation, and multilateralism to overcome the multifaceted impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We support the timely and equitable distribution of safe and effective vaccines to all Pacific people. We call for coordinated and sustained regional response and recovery efforts to COVID-19 – working through national and regional systems – to protect the most vulnerable, support economic livelihoods, restore air and sea connectivity and ‘build back better’ in support of a socially inclusive and economically resilient Blue Pacific.
15. We encourage further collaboration to improve the international and regional system’s ability to prevent, detect and respond to current and future health threats, including by strengthening the World Health Organization, SPC, SPREP, and other organisations as appropriate.
16. We recognize the urgent need to strengthen the implementation of the One Health approach and, in this regard, welcome initiatives such as the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) established by the WHO, FAO, OIE and UNEP and the PREZODE initiative.
17. We support the multilateral response and health systems strengthening against COVID-19, in particular the ACT Accelerator, its different pillars, and the COVAX facility dedicated to providing equitable access to safe and efficient vaccines to the world. In that regard, we support financial but also in-kind contributions through dose-sharing, and ways to increase production capacities world-wide, including in the global South.
18. We look forward to further cooperation between France and the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP agencies). We welcome the signature of a new multi-year partnership between France and the Pacific Community (SPC) in January 2021. We look forward also to exploring the development of a similar framework of partnership between SPREP and France, noting with satisfaction the continuing support of a national expert at SPREP.
19. The fight against IUU fishing is a high priority including, where appropriate, working together on the implementation of policies and measures to exclude IUU products from trade flows as well as the banning of subsidies that contribute to overcapacity, overfishing and IUU fishing. We underline the need to use appropriate technologies, in particular satellite images, in order to reinforce maritime surveillance of EEZ and preparedness for natural disasters, while reinforcing also traditional expertise and support to CREWS (Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems). Alongside with the Pacific QUAD exercises in support of FFA, France offered to host annual coastguard training, the first to be held in Papeete at the end of the year and the next in Noumea in 2022.
20. We commend the disaster relief cooperation that countries undertake whenever the Pacific is impacted by a natural disaster and welcome France as the incoming chair for two years of FRANZ cooperation between Australia, New Zealand and France in this regard.
21. We commit to developing a blue and green economy that generates sustainable growth, creates decent jobs, sustainably uses the marine resources, builds coastal resilience and provides a better living environment for their populations, while preserving the services performed by terrestrial and ocean ecosystems. To this end, we recognise the need to substantially increase our knowledge of deep ocean ecosystems and biological diversity to support policy decisions.
22. We encourage cooperation to better connect countries and territories of the Pacific including improving ‘last mile’ connectivity to remote or vulnerable populations, in developing ICT and electronic communications, such as the Tech4islands initiative.
23. Supporting the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development implementation, we welcome the adoption of the Pacific Solutions to Save Our Ocean Decade Action, led by SPC, to address the need for integrated ocean management in stewarding the Blue Pacific Continent.
24. We support cultural cooperation, notably the recognition of Oceanian most remarkable sites and intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO and promote human exchanges, in particular youth and student mobility.
25. Sport is a common language and is instrumental for our shared values. We look forward to participating in the Rugby World Cup 2023 and the 2024 Olympic Games in France.
26. We acknowledge our longstanding cooperation with France and with the EU and stand ready to host the signature of the new OACPS – EU Partnership Agreement in Samoa, which will embody a strengthened cooperation between the EU and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries for the coming years. We welcome the intention of the EU to reinforce its role as a cooperative partner to contribute to the stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development of the region and its involvement in regional fora.
27. We recognise the value of further strengthening the relationship between France and the Blue Pacific through regular dialogue and meetings, including France’s high-level attendance at the annual Pacific Islands Forum and the organisation of the 6th France-Oceania Summit.