The Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF) Leaders’ Summit has officially opened in Honiara this morning.
Being the first to happen outside of Fiji and the first one to be held after the PIDF Charter came into effect last year, the government and people of Solomon Islands are privileged to host this first Leaders’ Summit under the PIDF Charter.
Welcoming guests and participating country leaders to the PIDF Leaders’ Summit this morning, host representative, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says it is a great honour to receive this event in Solomon Islands.
“On behalf of the people and government of Solomon Islands, I would like to welcome you to Honiara for this 2016 Pacific Islands Development Forum Leaders’ Summit. It is a great honour to receive this event in Solomon Islands and I am glad to say that it is not the first time that we host a regional high-level meeting of this nature, but this one is special to us and I say it is special because it is the first time for the Pacific Islands Development Forum Leaders’ Summit to move out of its home base. I hope that we will match your expectations and compel you to take the best of our discussions back to your respective countries.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said this PIDF Leaders’ Summit is significant especially with the presence of PIDF Charter members.
“This Pacific Islands Development Forum Leaders’ Summit is significant especially with the presence of Charter members, congressional members, technical partners, international and regional organisations. In this regard, among others, I would like to acknowledge the presence here at Lawson Tama of representatives of the State of Kuwait, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Timo Leste, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Pakistan, United States of America, the Pitcairn Islands and the Territories of Wallis and Funuta Islands.”
SIBC News understands, the PIDF Leaders’ Summit begins mid-morning at Mendana Hotel under the theme “Stewardship for Healthy Oceans and Healthy Nations”.
Meanwhile joining the host Guest in welcoming the PIDF Leaders, Chief Guest and Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Vorenqe Bainimarama says he is pleased to welcome all PIDF Leaders to the Honiara Summit.
Prime Minister Bainimarama also thanked Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, the government and people of Solomon Islands for the hospitality accorded to the visiting PIDF delegation.
“Our warm thanks and appreciation go to Honourable Prime Minister of Solomon Islands the Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, his government and the people of Solomon Islands for the warm hospitality they have extended to us all. I also would like to acknowledge Mr Francois Mateo the Secretary General of the PIDF and his capable staff for their excellent work in organising the annual meeting.”
Meanwhile, the Fijian Prime Minister says the gathering today is not just a political meeting but one with ‘Pacific people’ at its heart.
“We are gathered here today not just as governments but as one Pacific people because the Pacific Islands Development Forum was founded as a place where governments, NGOs, the business community, foundations, the academic community and ordinary citizens can freely exchange ideas, all with the goal of solving our region’s most pressing problems.”