Remarks at Pacific Islands ForumSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 01 October 2015

Thank you very much, Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato of Papua New Guinea, for your able leadership as the Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum.

The PIF is crucial to realizing our global vision for a sustainable future.

This year we have agreed on key global policies – on disaster risk reduction, on financing for development, and now on the Sustainable Development Goals. All of these will boost our work on the SAMOA Pathway for small island developing States.

Now we need action on climate change, which has a severe impact on the Pacific region. You speak for the most vulnerable. That is why I am counting on you to raise your voices to build political momentum to resolve outstanding issues.

The PIF Declaration on Climate Change Action rightly emphasized the need for global responsibility. Now we must do even more. I will continue to call on major economies to raise their level of ambition. And I will press for priority attention to the needs of small island developing States and least developed countries.

I vividly remember my visit to Samoa last year. I went to Lepa to witness the damage from the 2009 tsunami. It was a powerful reminder of how badly small islands are hit by extreme weather events. And it was a sober lesson on how urgently we need to invest in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The dangers continue. This year, El Nino has caused strong droughts and cyclones in the Pacific.

Your countries need finance. I have been doing everything possible to ensure that the Green Climate Fund is capitalized and operationalized. It must be up and running before the Paris Conference – with projects and funding ready to go, especially for the most vulnerable. The UN is also ready to support your region in achieving sustainable development and climate resilience.

The Paris Conference will represent an important turning point – not an end point – for global climate action. I am hopeful that countries will finalize a new universal and meaningful climate change agreement. This is possible – but it will take clear guidance and firm leadership from heads of State and government.
The global goals will help promote peaceful and inclusive societies.

That will improve justice, accountability and security while protecting people and ecosystems.

We all welcomed the strong SDG on gender equality. This year also marks the 15 year review of Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

I have been doing everything possible to champion women’s equality and to empower women across the United Nations.

thank those of you who are with me in this fight. I was heartened by last week’s meeting on gender equality and women’s empowerment, where leaders agreed to close the gender gap.

There has been progress across the Pacific – but we still have to help women who are threatened by violence. We have to do more to involve women in politics. And we have to make women’s rights a reality everywhere.

The United Nations stands together with the countries and all peoples of the Pacific.

Your region is known for being on the frontlines of climate change – and I thank you for being at the forefront of positive change for our world.

Thank you.