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B. Waqa: Address to Asia Pacific Summit 2018

Address to Asia Pacific Summit 2018, Kathmandu, Nepal, Nov. 30–Dec. 3, 2018


Excellencies, Distinguished Speakers, Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, my warmest greetings and good health to the people of Nepal and to everyone here this morning. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to His Excellency K. P. Sharma Oli for his kind invitation for me to participate in this summit—and of course to the government and the people of Nepal for their warm welcome and hospitality extended to me and my delegation.

The foundations of the modern world were laid when humans began to explore the planet. They unwittingly established a pattern that would become the norm. Think of energy resources, international trade, the movements of people and even the causes of wars. It is all related to interdependence, if you really look at it closely. Our interdependence today is global but getting tight. We are becoming more entangled. Our very own survival depends on blending in. The word interdependence resonates in today’s setting more than ever before. The interdependence of states and benefits of joint actions are necessary to address the pressing global challenges prevalent in today’s world.

Countries exist on one globe. What happens to one part of the world almost inevitably impacts other countries. No matter how big, rich, or powerful they are, countries cannot act in isolation. Addressing challenges nationally, even regionally, will remain insufficient without a global response. For instance, solving problems of climate change, poverty, food and security, terrorism, and even cybercrime all require cooperation at the national, regional, and international level. States must uphold universal values to create a peaceful and secure environment for all.

Interdependence, however, must be based on equal partnership between nations and regions. We need each other. In my part of the world, the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Island countries, face common problem such as isolation, high transportation costs, and basically being out-resourced and out-maneuvered by bigger countries at the negotiation table. Pacific Island leaders realize that interdependency and cooperation are necessities i order to have a greater degree of success in a very competitive and very contested world.

A notable area of success worthy of mention is the management of the largest tuna fisheries in the world. The Pacific has the most sustainable tuna fishery worth more than three (3) billion U.S dollars annually. Revenue from this over the past 10 years has increased substantially, and, in the case of my country, by more than 800 percent. This did not come about easily, but rather through decades of information sharing, working together and with great patience.

Improving connectivity and the movement of people and goods is an absolute key to a more prosperous Pacific society. Therefore, quality and capacity building is critically important to our region. I believe that this resonates with every country on earth and especially in the developing world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, interdependence enables Nauru to pursue opportunities to meet its aspirations to fulfill national sustainable development goals, which means ultimately, a better quality of life for all Nauruans. Opportunities include trade and services, investments, advancement of technology and social benefits.

Addressing global challenges like climate change, which impacts small island states like Nauru directly, necessitates a coordinated, multilateral response. Small island developing states do not have the resources, internationally or regionally, to combat the adverse effects of climate change.

Subsequently, protecting the ocean environment for future generations needs collective global action. The ocean provides food and income to Nauru. The sustainability of the Pacific Ocean is critical to our livelihood and prosperity. Interdependency has also made us more vulnerable to global shocks such as earthquakes, epidemics, financial crises and political conflicts that threaten the supply of goods and information.

Interdependence also has the potential to boost geopolitical threats evident today in one country’s dominance in the world’s raw material. Trade embargoes and blocks impact adversely on countries on which they are imposed as they cut all supplies of goods including vital drugs, technology and other things. For small island countries that rely on imports, this is a risk that we continually must be cognizant of. Interdependence is their reality and will enable countries to achieve mutual prosperity. However, we must acknowledge that interdependency also creates vulnerability and fragility in some countries, especially the small island developing states.

In this regard, the final theme of this summit, universal values, is relevant in the global, interdependent community that we currently belong to. Upholding universal values that include peace, freedom, social progress, and human dignity could create a peaceful and secure environment for all.

In conclusion, interdependency in today’s world must be based on equal partnership and mutual needs for mutual prosperity. Thank you very much!



To go to the 2018 Asia Pacific Summit Schedule page, click here.