Success Stories 18 Aug 2020
While the global pandemic COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, it has not dampened the spirits of Pacific communities across the region.
On August 15th 2020, the first-of-its-kind televised and digitally streamed 'Pacific Unite: Saving Lives Together' concert called on regional leaders, citizens and artists to unite in the global fight against COVID-19.
Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) were one of the eight support partners for the concert enabling New Zealand-Pacific comedian Tofiga Fepulea'i and Māori musician Tiki Taane to participate.
"PCF are happy to support an uplifting and positive event for Pacific peoples in a challenging time," PCF Board Chair Fiso John Fiso said.
"We stand in solitary with our Pacific family in these uncertain times."
Tofiga Fepulea'i, who was hosted the concert in character as 'Aunty Tala' praised the Pacific for coming together.
"I'm very proud to have been part of this historic event," Tofiga said.
"Now is the time for us to come together, to celebrate the strength and solutions that are possible when the Pacific unites."
The concert featured contributions from 12 Pacific island countries, including musical performances from the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, New Zealand and many more.
Moreover, the concert also streamed video messages of support from international leaders and celebrities, including Britain's Prince Charles, Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker and New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Pacific Unite also brought attention to the multidimensional impacts of COVID-19 such as the evaporation of tourism, disruptions to international trade, and reduction in remittances.
It has also been noted that with COVID-19 there has been an increase in domestic violence, unemployment, food security and mental health issues.
Pacific leaders emphasised that while the region faces numerous challenges brought on by COVID-19, it is important that the region should not lose focus on combating climate change.
"This new normal should not be the same old story, but with face masks," said the President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau Jr.
"The Pacific has been pushing for big changes in travel, in tourism, in fishing, in plastic use and in energy production. In a strange way, COVID-19 has cleared paths to those objectives. If we manage this challenge the right way, we can build a stronger system than we had before."
The concert closed with a moving performance of a song called "We Will Rise", written about the coronavirus pandemic in the Pacific, performed by Pasifika Voices and the International School Suva.