On September 21st, 2017, during the week of the United Nations General Assembly, His Excellency President Tommy Remengesau Jr. of Palau hosted, in partnership with Okeanos Foundation and GLISPA, a High Level Dinner at the Singapore Mission in New York titled: “Sailing the Past Into the Future: Steps Toward Building a Regional Sustainable Sea Transportation Network.”
The goal of the high level dinner was to seek regional support for a Pan-Pacific network of traditionally designed sustainable sea transportation.
Attendees of the event, pictured here from left to right, included His Excellency Ambassador Hersey Kyota of Palau, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Washington, D.C.; Mr. Ewen McDonald Co-Chair Green Climate Fund Board; The Honourable Minister John Silk of the Marshall Islands; Secretary to the Cabinet Tessie Eria Lambourne, Kiribati; Ambassador Olai Uludong of Palau; Ambassador Hanns Heinrich Schumacher, Special Envoy from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany; Dr. Saia M. Piukala, The Honourable Minister for Health of Tonga; His Excellency Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru , Director General Dr. Colin Tukuitonga of Pacific Community ( SPC ); The Honourable Mr. Bartholomew Parapolo, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Solomon Islands; His Excellency Mr. Amena Yauvoli, Director-General of the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat and COP23 Presidency’s Pacific Special Representative of Fiji; His Excellency Mr. Yosiwo P. George, Vice President of the Federated States of Micronesia ; Secretary General Mr. Francois Martel of Pacific Island Development Forum; Dame Meg Taylor Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Secretary General Pacific Island Forum; His Excellency President Remengesau of Palau; Dieter Paulmann, Chairman and Founder of Okeanos; Dena Seidel, Director of Okeanos; Alexander Beetz of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit ( GIZ ).
Just earlier that day, President Remengesau Jr. spoke at the United Nations General Assembly where he addressed the issues his country and other vulnerable Pacific Islands face. “At no time in the history of my country has the need for a strong global partnership of countries been more important,” said President Remengesau. “Our success will depend upon development and maintenance of genuine and durable partnerships at every level of society.” The Okeanos Foundation being one of the NGO’s he’s partnered with to bring other Pacific Island nations to the table.
President Remengesau greets Dame Meg Taylor Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Secretary General, Pacific Island Forum
President Remengesau and Minister Balakrishnan greet with a warm embrace.
Director General Dr. Colin Tukuitonga of Pacific Community (left) with Okeanos Chairman & Founder Dieter Paulmann (right)
During the High-Level Dinner, Pacific Island representatives of various countries, were greeted with leis and a respectable embrace. As they dined, attendees were able to break bread and further discuss how they can implement ideas of sustainability that could benefit their nations that would strengthen their bond.
His Excellency President Remengesau addresses distinguished guests at the high level dinner, speaking about the need for concrete solutions to challenges Pacific Islands are facing and the need to build upon traditional knowledge.
Dieter Paulmann’s presentation focussed on the 8 Sustainable Development Goals a country can meet by using a Vaka Motu. He also proposed a network of traditionally designed sustainable sea transportation to serve as a disaster relief brigade.
Dame Meg Taylor, Pacific Ocean Commissioner and Secretary General of PIF, addresses the distinguished guests announcing her full support for a regional proposal of traditionally designed sustainable sea transportation and her commitment to advance the proposal.
The Chairman of the Okeanos Foundation, Dieter Paulmann, presented the progress of sustainable sea transportation with the aid of traditionally designed Vaka Motu canoes. In entering the dinner, a model of this vaka motu canoe was on display for all delegates to view.
Okeanos was honored to work closely with Palau Ambassador, Her Excellency Olai Uludong, and Joe Aitaro, Green Climate Fund Advisor to Ambassador Feturi.
Palau Ambassador Olai Uludong speaks to distinguished guests during the High Level dinner.
Joseph Aitaro (blue shirt) speaks about the Vaka Motu with Minister Parapolo from Solomon Islands.
The partnership between Okeanos Foundation and the Republic of Palau continues to make strides towards sustainable sea transportation where they will advance this conversation they started at this High-Level Dinner in November’s COP23 event. The stage is already set in Bonn, Germany where world leaders will make necessary plans of action to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) including SDG14: to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Left to right: Dieter Paulmann CEO of Okeanos, Nauru’s President Waqa, President Remengesau of Palau, Dena Seidel, Director of Okeanos, and Alexander Beetz GIZ Program Manager Low Carbon Sea Transportation project Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Click here for a full activities report on the evening’s successful event.