The 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting (PIFLM) convened in Rarotonga, Cook Islands, from November 6 to 10, 2023, with a call for collective support and partnerships to ensure the success of the region’s strategic policy document, the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
Heads of State, Government, and Territories, including Tonga, participated in discussions revolving around the theme “Our Voices, Our Choices, Our Pacific Way: Promote, Partner, Prosper.”
The Tonga Chamber of Commerce & Industry, part of the Tonga delegation led by the Ministry of Trade & Economic Development (MTED), was represented by Siosifa Pomana attending on behalf of the Chamber during the last two days of the conference.
The first day, November 9th, focused on the launch of Cook Island’s Pacific Partnership for Prosperity initiative, featuring a Pavilion akin to MTED’s annual Trade Fair. This marketplace showcased Pacific ingenuity, economic resilience, and creative enterprise, drawing parallels between the setting and MTED’s Fair.
Friday, November 10th, dedicated to Forum Dialogue Partners, Forum Observers, Civil Society, and Private Sector Representatives, saw high-level thematic dialogues on political leadership, people-centered development, resource and economic development, technology and connectivity, and climate change, disasters, ocean, and the environment.
Key outcomes emphasised stable political environments, strengthened regional cooperation, inclusive and sustainable development, and a call for collective action on climate change. The private sector representatives attending offered insights and collaboration opportunities.
Recommendations for the private sector include aligning corporate social responsibility initiatives with regional stability and development goals, investing in sustainable technologies, incorporating environmentally friendly practices, and exploring public-private partnerships.
The 52nd PIFLM outcomes underscore a unique opportunity for the private sector to contribute to the region’s prosperity. Aligning business strategies with identified themes and collaborating with governments and stakeholders positions the private sector to play an important role in fostering sustainable development, innovation, and resilience in the Pacific Islands.
The 53rd Pacific Islands Forum, scheduled for August 2024 in Tonga, provides a continued platform for the private sector to contribute to the region’s long-term success in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.