Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has highlighted the importance of tailoring approaches to the implementation of development programs to work in local circumstances.
O'Neill made the comments in his first intervention at the Plenary Session of the 7th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM 7) that is taking place in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.
The first session of PALM7 highlighted approaches by countries to facilitate development in their context, and utilising multilateral forums to advance initiatives around the region.
The Intervention by the Prime Minister provided context to core development priorities in Papua New Guinea, and acknowledged Japan's support for Pacific development initiatives
Text of Intervention by Prime Minister O'Neill:
Development in our region is guided by sustainable principles and approaches that should be determined by our individual and collective responsibility.
The region recognises the changing global circumstances that highlight the fragility of the global ecosystem and the additional value it places on the environment, climate security, and food and water security.
Our region has the greatest potential, but we are also faced by some of the most significant challenges in the world today.
The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action SAMOA Pathway expresses those challenges and priorities.
We are grateful for the Government of Japan's action to extend support in the Pacific Region to encourage sustainable development.
The region's particular vulnerabilities and strengths are noted in the Sustainable Development Goals and post 2015 Development Agenda.
Too often there is a problem with the definitions used to set development targets.
As an example, the Millennium Development Goals should not be seen as a one-size-fits-all approach.
While Papua New Guinea continues to have challenges in meeting the MDGs as defined in the global criteria – but we are seeing real development in our country through the implementation of core development priorities.
These are in education, healthcare, security and infrastructure.
By providing free education for all children we have been able to increase access to education from just over one million children to nearly two million children in the last three years.
We are extending universal healthcare throughout our country, which has very remote areas, that are challenging to reach.
We have placed a priority on increasing spending on security, the judiciary and corrective services. We are also building the infrastructure that our people and our SMEs need to trade and to travel.
These are the important elements in the development of our country, and in any country.
In the facilitation of development in any country, again, there is no-one-size-fits-all approach to development.
I also want to take this time to acknowledge the Government of Japan for the pilot initiative on the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund which addresses key environmental issues and the effects of climate change in the region.
This will indeed bring positive change to the lives of our people.
There is need to progress this pilot initiative, and I call for the Government of Japan to continue to support the PEC Fund and replicate it across the region, particularly those most affected.
We applaud regional programs in dealing with the causes and effects of climate change in our region.
We welcome Japan's Green Climate Fund and the fund that has been announced today. This will help countries in our region improve energy efficiencies – particularly renewable energy sources.
NB: The conference is co-Chaired by the Prime Minister of Japan, Hon Shinzo Abe, and current Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, the President of Palau, Hon Thomas Remengesu Jr.