President Nakao made the statement Friday in his public lecture at the University of the South Pacific on “Pacific Islands: Development Opportunities and policies priorities.
“ADB recognises the diversity of the Pacific. The region has over 800 languages. Pacific Island economies are very different. But a regional approach to common challenges can benefit all.
“Pacific Island leaders will be discussing a new framework for Pacific regionalism at the Forum Leaders meeting in Port Moresby in early September. ADB stands ready to support their key priorities,” he stressed.
President Nakao said one concrete example of the benefits of regional cooperation is the recent success of the Pacific Islands improving the management and economic returns from fisheries.
“The Pacific Ocean covers almost one third of the world's surface area and is the last great global fishery, with over 60% of the world's tuna. By working together, the Pacific Island countries have managed to raise fishing license fees five fold, from just over US$80 million in 2010 to more than US$450 million expected in 2015.
“Strong regional efforts are making the fishing industry more sustainable. While more still needs to be done, there is now a hard cap on total fishing days, and several countries are introducing extensive marine protected areas,” he said.
He said now is the time for a paradigm shift to accelerate Pacific regional cooperation and integration.