Mr. Francois Martel officially took up his post on the 26th of October as the first permanent Secretary General of the Pacific Island Development Forum at the Secretariat’s headquarters in Suva following his appointment by the Leader’s Council at its 3rd PIDF Summit in September, 2015.
Welcomed by the Chairman of the Leader’s Council and Fiji’s Prime Minister, at the 3rd PIDF Summit Hon. Josaia Bainimarama said that, “Mr. Martel who has been selected after an intensive process – has more than 35 years experience in natural resource management, bio-diversity conservation and climate change in the tropics. He also has extensive contacts in government, civil society and the private sector. So we welcome him to the PIDF and are confident that the Secretariat will be in good hands.”
Prior to his new role, Mr. Martel was the Tokelau Climate Change & COP21 Advisor. He was assisting Tokelau in advising and supporting key activities to address the impact of climate change at the community level under the quality of life framework.
Over the last two weeks, Mr. Martel initiated a series of courtesy visits with Government officials, Development and Technical Partners, as well as key private sector organisations based in Fiji. These visits will be on-going until the end of the year to re-engage with all partners and assert the PIDF position on climate change through its Suva Declaration, as well as presenting the blueprint of activities, and results expected for the first year of operation of PIDF, as an international organisation.
“I raise my hat to the hard work of my predecessors, Mr. Fereti Teo and H.E. Amena Yauvoli, in designing an organisation to the shape and form asked by the Leaders of the Pacific, one that is inclusive, innovative and for Pacific people. The last tasks of the Interim Secretary General was to lead the registration of the PIDF as an international organisation with the United Nations during the last General Assembly, then to fly to Bonn, where he is the Chair of the UNFCCC Sub-Committee on Implementation of the Convention on Climate Change – quite an achievement at the international level, and lifting the challenge quite a few notches for me to follow in his footsteps” said Mr. Martel.
The Secretary General’s first order of business is the preparatory work for the COP21 meeting in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. Gearing up to the meeting, Mr. Martel will be attending the Regional Seminar – South East Asia and the Pacific in Hanoi from 9th – 13th of November, 2015. The seminar organised by the European Commission will be an opportunity where leaders will take stock of experiences, challenges and expectation in the Pacific with regards to Climate Change.
The President of the French Republic, Hon. Francois Hollande in his congratulatory message to the Secretary General extended an invitation to the 4th France-Oceania Summit in Paris which will be held a week days before the COP21 meeting. The meeting is for the French Government to discuss with Pacific Leaders economic growth and sustainable development policies, environment and climate change in Oceania and ways of increasing cooperation.
Mr. Martel expressed his appreciation to the invitations from the European Commission and the French Government as the meetings are important for the Pacific Island Development Forum and a sign for the recognition of the credibility of the organization.