The islands nation of Tokelau on 27 April, 2016 represented by Ulu O Tokelau Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa signed the PIDF Charter signalling the formal admission of Tokelau to the Pacific Islands Development Forum.

Tokelau has been a strong supporter to the concept of the Pacific Islands Development Forum since its inception in 2012 and has contributed to all its Summits and consultations.  Their delegations were also instrumental in developing the PIDF Charter and also its flagship for COP21 in Paris – the Suva Declaration on climate change.

This is for good reasons – as Tokelau is a low-lying atoll nation – one of four Pacific Islands that form the Coalition of Atoll Nations for Climate Change together with Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.  The core of the Suva declaration was constructed around the high vulnerability of the Pacific atoll nations, as the ones at the forefront of the climate impacts and this is also true of Tokelau.

“Interestingly, I came to engage with PIDF first as the Climate Change advisor for Tokelau, as part of the delegations coming to Suva for the Charter consultations, so one can say that Tokelau had quite a bit of influence on the shaping of the organisation from the onset,” said PIDF Secretary General François Martel during the function.

“I was also honoured to represent Tokelau during two well received CANCC side-events at COP21 so that Tokelau could have a voice in Paris – that voice joined with the others and helped shape the consensus for High Ambition in the Paris Agreement – that is for sure,” he further added.

Secretary General Martel acknowledged the Government of New Zealand, in particular the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Murray McCully and the Administrator of Tokelau, Linda Te Puni, for supporting the accession of Tokelau to our new regional multilateral agency – the PIDF, so it can continue to have a voice and opportunities in the Pacific realm and to ensure that “no one is left behind”.

“I believe Tokelau is the first territory to be signing the PIDF Charter and I would like to encourage all Pacific countries and territories to do so. While we may have limitations by virtue of our political status, we are committed towards addressing the issues of Climate Change, Disaster Vulnerabilities and Oceans as captured under the Suva Declaration,” said the Ulu O Tokelau Aliki Faipule Afega Gaualofa during the official signing ceremony.

The Ulu O Tokelau added that climate change is the most powerful issue of our time. As the world’s greatest threat, it has also become the greatest opportunity for the world to work together and that is the encouragement that gives territories like Tokelau to step up to sign the PIDF Charter which leaves no one behind.

With the signing of this Charter there will be more meaningful engagements and partnerships between governments, civil societies and the private sector to deliver practical, meaningful and positive outcomes for the people further added the Ulo O Tokelau.

The Ceremony which took place at the PIDF Secretariat also witnessed the formal raising of the Tokelau national flag.

Tokelau now becomes the 12th member of the PIDF (10th country member).  The other PIDF members that have signed the PIDF Charter are: Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Pacific Island Association of Non-Governmental Organisation and Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation.