Port Moresby – Papua New Guinea

(8 – 10 September 2015)




Honourable Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, dear Peter O’Neill,

Honourable Leaders,

Mrs Secretary General, Dame Meg Taylor,

Distinguished Delegates,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,


Ia Ora Na e Manava,


It is a great pleasure and a great honour for me to participate for the first time as President in a Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting, as the last time I was among you, in August 2010 in Port Vila, I was then the vice-president of the government of French Polynesia.


On behalf of my government and the people of Tahiti, I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to us by the authorities of Papua New guinea, in the true Pacific way, on the occasion of this 46th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Summit.


I know this Summit is of special importance for our host, the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, as Papua New Guinea is celebrating 40 years of independence. On behalf of my people, I would like to extend my congratulations and my best wishes to the Government and People of Papua New Guinea on this festive occasion.




It is with humility but also with a fervent conviction that I address you all today, Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum. As all of you, I am a man from the Pacific and as a Pacific Islander, I am deeply attached to the values of the Pacific, with a strong sense of belonging to the Pacific family.


Today, Tahiti is respectfully applying for full membership of the Pacific Islands Forum. This decision was not taken lightly but carefully thought through. After more than 10 years of observership and then associate membership, it is actually our humble belief that now time has come, as a logical move forward, to be fully engaged in the Forum and to be granted full membership.During these years of practice, we have listened hard and we have learned a lot. I think that we have also demonstrated our willingness and capacity to contribute to the strengthening of regional cooperation and integration, in due proportion to our human, technical, legal and financial means.


I am not going to give you this morning a legal presentation on our self-governing status as the very issue to me is not a legal one but a political one.


I would only recall that according to the provisions of our organic law, “French Polynesia governs itself freely and democratically through its elected representatives and by way of local referendum” and that since the beginning of our shared relationship with the Forum, we fully agree with the vision and objectives set by the Forum Leaders in their 2004 Auckland Declaration. Like you, we want the Pacific region to be a region of “peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity, so that all its people can lead free and worthwhile lives.”


Honourable Leaders, we were privileged and honoured to welcome in Tahiti last July the Forum Ministerial Mission led by PNG Foreign Affairs Minister Rimbik Pato to assess our application request. And we were pleased to read in the conclusions of the mission report that “it is the opinion of the Forum Mission to French Polynesia that its level of self governance provides the minimum benchmark for full Forum membership”. To us, this is what matters the most with our willingness to be fully engaged in the region’s challenges.






In this regard, I would like to present you the Taputapuatea Declaration on Climate Change which was signed by the Polynesian Leaders on the sacred island of Raiatea last July 16th, on the occasion of a special meeting of the Polynesian Leaders Group in view of the COP 21 in Paris.


In this Declaration named the Polynesian P.A.C.T. : Polynesia Against Climate Threats, we, “the People of the Vaka”, recall that the Pacific Ocean is a vital regulator of the climate for the whole word and that it is one of the biggest carbon sinks of our planet that needs to be acknowledged and protected as such.


With regards to the intensification of extreme weather events, the loss of territorial integrity, the displacements of populations, the deterioration of our natural and cultural heritage and the damages caused to our oceanic resources, the Taputapuatea Declaration urges the international community to reach a comprehensive and legally binding agreement:


-       limiting global warming below 1.5°Celsius;

-       providing effectively the most vulnerable countries, particularly the small islands developing countries and territories, with the necessary financial tools to adapt to the adverse climate change impacts;

-       recognizing the loss and damage provisions as a critical element for building resilience.


We, in the Pacific, are at the frontline of the devastations caused by climate change and we want the voice of the Pacific to be strongly heard in Paris. This is why, with the support of the members of the Polynesian Leaders Group, I took the initiative to convene this special PLG conference on Climate Change in Tahiti, with the participation of close advisors to the President of the French Republic as France will assume next November the chair of COP 21.


The Taputapuatea Declaration was officially forwarded to the President of the French Republic and I am pleased to inform you that in his response President François Hollande assured the Polynesian Leaders, and by extension all the Pacific Leaders, that their concerns about the adverse impacts of climate change on theirs countries and peoples would be fully taken into consideration at the COP 21 Meeting in Paris.


This is only one example of what we can achieve all together, regardless our individual status, when our common issues of concern to the Pacific region are at stake. I could also mention in addition to climate change, the management of regional fisheries stocks, the development of regional air transports and the need to bridge the communication gap between our countries.





My conviction is that we have numerous wealth to share, many projects to achieve and many dreams to fulfil for the betterment of our region and the well-being of our peoples. No matter the distances, the languages, the cultures, the economic resources nor the political regimes that make our diversity, we all belong to the great Pacific Islands family.


We share the same DNA and Tahiti has always had an open attitude towards its Pacific brothers. Within our means, we have always done our best to act in solidarity with all our neighbours of the Pacific, especially when they go through hardships.


My dear friends, there are plenty of joint initiatives to be launched for the benefit of our region. It is the strength of our ties and mutual trust that will enable us to lay the foundations of an inclusive Pacific regionalism.


In closing, allow me, honourable leaders, to simply remind that the challenges we are confronted with today, ignore the boundaries and that we must demonstrate our ability to go beyond our national interests and focus on the well-being of our peoples because we are, and we remain, “the people of the Pacific”.


We think that it is now timely to open a new era in our relationship and we are ready to take up the challenge, with your support.


Honourable Leaders, Excellencies, I thank you for your attention.


Mauruuru roa e ia ora na.


Gouvernement Fritch sept. 2014 - jan. 2017

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