ECONOMIC growth among Pacific Island Forum countries continues to be lower than potential growth performance.
And climate change remains the single greatest threat and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals is uneven.
Pacific Island Forum Secretariat's secretary general Tuiloma Neroni Slade made the comments at the opening of the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga, Cook Islands earlier this week.
Mr Slade said a most worthy theme had been set for the year — Large Ocean Island States-the Pacific Challenge.
He said islands inhabited the ocean and the ocean exerted strong influence on the islands.
He said the ocean was indeed the strongest force on the global climate system.
"The ocean-island inter-play is the essence of an ancient and intimate relationship, one that lies deep in the character and culture of every Pacific community," he said.
"But these are times of challenging and far-reaching change.
"The demands of humanity are taking their toll, putting stress, in particular on the oceans and its resources.
"Our countries are at the forefront in the struggle against climate change and recurring natural disasters."
Mr Slade said the Pacific challenge was timely and right for the forum in united kinship of large ocean island states to determine a future based on peace and security, and prosperity for all.
He said the Pacific Oceanscape was a natural focus in this endeavour.
"Endorsed by forum leaders in 2010, the sweeping vision of the Pacific Oceanscape is grounded in pragmatism; a pledge to ourselves to safeguard our home and our security, and to advance informed and integrated ocean management and adaptation to environmental and climate change." Mr Slade said the outcomes of Rio+20 also reaffirmed the 'special case' for small island developing States for sustainable development, acknowledged climate change as one of the greatest global challenge of our time, and gave significant emphasis to the importance of the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and their resources.