Baron Waqa ‘more than able’ to lead Pacific Islands Forum, says Rabuka

Baron Waqa
Baron Waqa . . . the first Nauruan national to assume the role of the Forum secretary general. Image: FB/ Fiji Govt/RNZ

The new secretary-general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Baron Waqa, is “well equipped” for the role, Fiji Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka says.

Waqa, a former Nauru president is the first Nauruan national to assume the top job at the Forum.

He began his tenure last week and was welcomed during a special ceremony on Thursday night in Suva.

Rabuka said Waqa would serve the region and the Pacific people well, given his wealth of experience.

“As one who has held multiple leadership roles at the national, regional and global levels, we are assured that you are well equipped to take on this role and that you will lead us well,” he said.

“We believe that you will serve our region and our Pacific people and with the vast experience that you bring, we are confident that our Blue Pacific is in safe hands.”

Rabuka said the region continued to be confronted with multidimensional challenges and stressed that climate change remained the region’s “greatest threat impacting our ability to meet our development aspirations”.

Increased urgency
He added there was an increased urgency to act collectively to progress shared priorities and goals as outlined in the 2050 Strategy.

“We have laid out our pathway through the 2050 Strategy with its implementation plan. It is now in your hands. We hold high expectations because we know that you are more than able.”

Since taking up office, Waqa has already made his first official regional trip to the Solomon Islands, meeting with Prime Minister Jeremaiah Manele and his foreign minister Peter Agovaka on June 10.

“One of my key priorities as Secretary-General is to continue to strengthen our solidarity as a Pacific family,” he said.

“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Manele to build our one Blue Pacific continent and improve the lives of all Pacific people.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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