The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) may soon work closer as a partner with the Pacific Alliance which was part of discussions during a courtesy visit by the Colombian Ambassador, H.E, Ms. Clemencia Forero-Ucros to the PIDF Secretariat on Tuesday 16 August, 2016.

The Ambassador explained to the PIDF management that the Pacific Alliance which includes Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico was established in 2012 with the ratification of a framework agreement. Its focus is on trade and investment and current focus has been internal where it is trying to promote stock market integration.

Its purpose is to build in a participatory and consensual way an area of deep integration to move progressively towards the free movement of goods, services, resources and people and drive further growth, development and competitiveness of the economies of its members, focused on achieving greater well-being, overcoming socioeconomic inequality and promote the social inclusion of its inhabitants. The Pacific Alliance will also become a platform of political articulation, economic and commercial integration and projection to the world, with emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.

It has 42 Observers which include Japan, Korea and Singapore. Its outreach to Asia and the Pacific will begin soon and the Ambassador suggested that Fiji and the PIDF would make good partners.

Ambassador Forero-Ucro also highlighted that Colombia is also a victim of climate change where El Nino struck the country with intensity resulting in severe floods and extreme droughts.

“The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) a regional bloc of 33 Latin American and Caribbean states also advocated on climate adaptation and mitigation at the Paris Talks and Colombia was also a part of the Coalition of High Ambition in Paris and as part of its NDC it is committed to a 20% reduction in emissions,” said Ambassador Forero-Ucro.

“There is a lot of bio diversity in Colombia which has two coastlines one of which is in the Pacific. It relies on hydroelectricity. During the recent drought it ventured into thermal power and  has passed a law promoting renewable energy with incentives offered to municipalities. We have wind mills also being developed on the coastlines,” she further added.

In a similar approach as the PIDF, it supports South-South Cooperation where countries can share experiences. H.E Forero-Ucro also indicated that Colombia will also be represented at the UN Oceans Conference in 2017.

The visit also allowed PIDF Secretary General, François Martel to provide an overview of the strategic directions of PIDF, its unique multi-stakeholder governance system with updates from the recently held Leaders’ Summit in Honiara and the PIDF role in the regional architecture in terms of sustainable development across Pacific Island countries and territories.

“We had constructive discussions during the meeting with the Ambassador especially for our strategic pathways forward to achieve PIDF’s mandated responsibilities within the Pacific,” said Secretary General Martel after the meeting.