He told a special Melanesian Spearhead Group leaders’ summit in Port Moresby on Wednesday night that “together our region comprises the landmass, bigger population, immense bio-diversity as well as greater economic activity and growth”.
“We are at the forefront of initiating new ideas, creating new opportunities and implementing strategies that will benefit not only our Melanesian people but our fellow Pacific islanders as well.”
O’Neill was pleased to see the achievements of the MSG over the last 25 years.
“One of the standout achievements is the MSG trade agreement,” he said.
“I understand that this is one of the few trade arrangements in the world that is actually working and delivering on its objectives and promises.
“This agreement has delivered increased trade between our countries and is creating new jobs.
“It is enhancing investment opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and contributing to economic growth and prosperity in our countries.
“There are further plans to increase this regional cooperation in areas that include culture, climate change, humanitarian and emergency response, legal frameworks, monitoring and surveillance, peacekeeping operations, police and security, sports and others.”
O’Neill said the meeting was on the eve of one of MSG’s most exciting and colourful events – the
5th Melanesia Arts and Culture Festival.
“The festival will bring together and showcase to the world, the unique, rich and diverse Melanesian arts, cultures and dances that we inherited from our ancestors,” he said.
“It is indeed important to preserve our Melanesian cultures and to continue to narrate our story to the world and our younger generations.”
Port Moresby (The National)