Mr. Chairman and Colleagues,
A very good morning to you all !
I acknowledge and respect all protocols this morning.
First of all, please allow me this opportunity – on behalf of my Pacific Island colleagues and more so my own country – to warmly and sincerely THANK YOU ALL for allowing me to share these few minutes with the esteemed leaders of This great region – The Caribbean.
Thus far this week I and my delegation have enjoyed the warm hospitality of your wonderful region and specifically that of this beautiful country – Surinam. Since Monday this week I have reflected enormously on the sense of commonness and vision that have transpired through the various development initiatives across this region. One thing emerged very clearly – Vanuatu and the Pacific have a lot to learn from your great region, and specifically we have so much to learn from The Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) model.
The exchange between The Caribbean and the Pacific regions in agriculture is vital in this era due to the very fact that both regions have many similarities in terms of geography, markets, distances, food, nutrition policy challenges, climate change, high food import bills, and many more.
I register at this juncture also my gratitude and thanks for the support accorded to Vanuatu and to us all by CTA, FAO the EU and other donor partners in advancing the growth of the Agriculture sector.
Through the support CTA provided under the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme, the EU funded programme the exchange between the Caribbean and Pacific was made possible. The Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme provides the mechanisms for more exchange between our two regions.
The Pacific will build on the experience of the Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA) to host its first ever Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) which the partnerships was announced recently in Samoa at the Private Sector Forum at the helm of the Third International Conference of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The Pacific will kindly seek the expertise of the Caribbean in staging its first ever PWA event tentatively in 2015.
Vanuatu has expressed its interest to host the first edition of PWA. We have already proven a track record of successfully hosting international events in the recent past, such as the EU/ACP Ministerial in 2012, the forthcoming EU/ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in November this year, and the upcoming CHOGM in 2017 which we very much look forward to.
On this note, once again distinguished leaders, ladies and gentlemen, I sincerely thank you for your support and very much look forward to our continued collaboration in the coming years.
David Tosul Butulso
Hon. Minister of Agriculture
Republic of Vanuatu