Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor headlined this year’s Griffith University Asia Lecture 2019 at the Queensland College of Art with a focus on the geopolitical and geostrategic issues of economy, security and climate change challenging the Asia-Pacific.
Dame Meg was appointed Secretary-General of the Forum in 2014. and it currently comprised of 18 member countries.
She said that since 2017 the Forum’s reputation had galvanised under the ‘Blue Pacific identity’.
“The Blue Pacific represents our recognition that as a region, we are large, connected and strategically important,” said Dame Meg.
“It speaks to our collective potential and our shared stewardship of the Pacific Ocean.”
The Pacific Islands Forum includes 18 member countries working to achieve peace and security goals through a Framework for Pacific Regionalism.
“It is about all Pacific peoples comprising our ocean of islands, who recognise their needs and potential, who plan and own their development agenda, and who can act collectively for the good of all,” said Dame Meg.
She reiterated economic trials facing the Forum, noting some of the most critical challenges are finding sustainable and cost-effective infrastructure development in the face of extreme climatic vulnerabilities.
“Reaffirming climate change as the single greatest threat facing the Blue Pacific, Forum Leaders declared, this past August, a climate change crisis facing Pacific Island nations,” said Dame Meg.
“The most recent IPCC Special Report on the Oceans and Cryosphere provides the clearest scientific evidence yet of the destructive impacts the climate crisis will have on the health and integrity of our ocean and its resources.”
Dame Meg ended the evening with one final call to arms.
“Perhaps the simplest action we can do now is to engage the people of the Pacific, particularly our young people, in discussions about our future,” she said.
Director of Griffith Asia Institute Professor Caitlin Byrne said was a privilege to host Dame Meg.
“Dame Meg shared an important and much-needed Blue Pacific perspective to the way we understand and engage with Asia-Pacific neighbourhood,” she added.
“She was an inspiration with her messages on the role of collective vision, leadership & diplomatic solidarity in support of Blue Pacific”.