The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) was visited by South African chargé d’affaires, His Excellency Velelo Gardener Kwepile, who acknowledged the continued efforts of PIDF in the Pacific region on matters pertaining to sustainable development through an inclusive and multi-stakeholder approach. The visit eventuated on Thursday 28 July, 2016 at the PIDF Secretariat in Nasese.

The courtesy visit also allowed PIDF Secretary General, François Martel to enlighten His Excellency Kwepile on the recent successful Leaders and Pre Summit meetings and their outcomes, both held in Honiara, Solomon Islands from the 12 to 13 July 2016.

The Secretary General also highlighted upcoming events such as the Pacific Blue Economy Conference.  The PIDF’s 1st High Level Pacific Blue Economy Conference will provide the Pacific region the platform for regional preparatory meeting for the UN Conference on Oceans and Seas to be held in the Republic of Fiji in June 2017.

An update was also presented on preparations for observing the Pacific Year of the Oceans in 2017 in recognition of the importance of the ocean to our nations’ economies, and our people’s health and cultures while dealing with threats posed to our oceans by over-harvesting of resources, sea-based  pollution,  the  impacts  of  climate  change  on  the  ocean’s  ecosystems  and  our  people’s  livelihood.

An overview was given on the strategic directions and recent activities of PIDF while building the new regional organisation structure, processes and staff over the last 10 months.  Mention was also made of the Post-COP21 Public Forum on the Paris Agreement and other Post-COP21 engagements on maritime shipping emissions, in the role of Civil Society in climate change actions, and on climate-induced migrations and displacements and a draft Pacific climate change treaty.

“We had productive discussions during the meeting with HE Kwepile’s visit especially on the role of PIDF as Pacific SIDS and South-South platforms, as well as the potential for closer collaboration with South Africa” said Secretary General Martel.

HE Kwepile also shared his country experience and agreed that there are potential areas of collaboration in the area of sustainable development and building climate resilience.

“PIDF is a force to be reckoned with in the Pacific” said HE Kwepile.

He acknowledged the work that has been implemented by PIDF within the Pacific region and pledged support on areas of possible mutual cooperation for future projects as aligned to the PIDF Strategic Plan, which will shortly be undergoing a multi-stakeholder consultation process.

South Africa was also represented in the Leaders’ Summit held last year and the inaugural summit in 2013.