Paul Madden

Paul Madden

Additional Director Asia Pacific

3rd September 2012 London, England

On the climate change frontline in the South Pacific

British Environment Minister Richard Benyon described his attendance at the Pacific Islands Forum in Raratonga, the Cook Islands, as being on the frontline of climate change. In many meetings with ministers from the region, he heard about the vulnerability of low lying island states to sea level rise, and about how many Pacific islands are already experiencing significant erosion from more extreme climate events.

The Hon Richard Benyon MP, Environment Minister with HE Paul Madden and HE Vicki Treadell, BHC Wellington and local hosts

This annual gathering of PIF members (Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) and a range of dialogue partners including the UK¸US and China, is a great opportunity to engage with this remote and varied region. We were reminded of Britain’s long history here by the fact that at least five of the national flags contained a union jack, and by the picture of HM The Queen which graced the Cook Islands’ cabinet room when we called on the Deputy Prime Minister. Nowadays our significant financial support for the region is delivered through the European Union. But it is an area where we continue to take a close interest and work closely with our Australian and New Zealand partners who play a leading role in the region.

Key themes for the meeting included sustainability, conservation of marine resources and gender. Australian PM Julia Gillard launched a major initiative on empowering women around the region. Sadly she had to leave the meeting a day early because of the tragic loss of five Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. Delegations to the meeting expressed our deep condolences. US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton also spoke on the theme of gender and announced additional funding to promote opportunities for women in the Pacific. Oxfam New Zealand launched a report, funded by the British High Commission in Wellington, on how Pacific island countries can access international climate finance.

The British delegation, which comprised our five high commissioners from the region supporting the Minister, organised an excellent side-event to mark the opening of the Paralympics, 10,000 miles away in London. There was a video on the London Paralympics and on Pacific-based Paralympians, and a dance performance by disabled and able-bodied dancers from New Zealand. For me it was a particular pleasure to meet some members of this year’s Cook Islands’ Olympic team and hear from them what a great time they had in London last month. These islands are about as far from London as it is possible to travel, but many people told us how much they’d enjoyed watching the Games on TV.

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About Paul Madden

Paul Madden is currently Additional Director Asia Pacific at the FCO in London, with special responsibility for the Chinese President's State visit. He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011. A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.
As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan
He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.
Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.
He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.
Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.

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