In the first session of the Pacific Islands Forum 2050 Dialogues, specifically Dialogue One focusing on Political Leadership, Regionalism, Peace, and Security, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka offered insightful reflections on the prevailing challenges of our era.
“There’s no need for me to emphasise the nature of the times we find ourselves in and the circumstances that significantly impact our lives in what we once referred to as this far-flung corner of the world.”
“Now as we look intently on what is happening around us and focus on who we are and where we are, we all agree that this is the centre of the world.”
Despite global challenges impacting the Pacific, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of self-reflection and resilience.
“Although what is happening out there is affecting us, we must focus on who we are, where we are, and the time we are living in,” he added.
With gratitude for the support extended by fellow leaders regarding his “Zone of Peace” concept, Prime Minister Rabuka underscored the significance of the widespread embrace of this visionary idea.
He shared an interaction with a Portuguese leader who, 24 hours prior, had recognized the peaceful nature of the Pacific, inspired by Ferdinand Magellan’s historical naming of the region.
Despite the growing threat of cyclones and climate change, Prime Minister Rabuka spoke of the importance of collaborative action.
“If we cannot control the damage of the change in climate, we can at least outline a plan of action and a style of leadership so that we are one with the world,” he asserted.
Acknowledging the role of dialogue partners, the Prime Minister discussed the complex dynamics of independence and economic interdependence.
“Those of us who negotiated our independence – independence from whom? Have we really become independent – from them who are here as dialogue partners – we still have much of an economy of their economic model, their scientists, and their technologies.”
Prime Minister Rabuka expressed hope for strengthened global unity.
“I hope we will get to know them better and re-associate with them and march together as a unified world and not only as the Pacific. We are a zone of peace, and we tell the rest of the world that we are brave people.”