Fiji joined the United Nations on 13th of October 1970, the first Pacific island state to do so. Over the next two decades we welcomed our Pacific neighbours into the UN.
We entered the UN with aspirations among our people that Fiji had something good to give to the world and something larger to gain from a multilateral pursuit of peace and multilateral cooperation for the protection of our natural world.
These were the comments made by Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Satyendra Prasad while delivering a message to UN on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of Fiji’s Independence.
Ambassadors from over 80 global countries joined this virtual event. Ambassador Prasad spoke on the important role Fiji played in advancing the mandates of the United Nations over the years. He reminded the audience that
“In addressing the UN last week, the Hon Prime Minister reminded the UN that Fijians have given much to great causes of humanity through the UN: Fijian peacekeepers have served for more than 40 years protecting the most vulnerable in some of the world’s most difficult regions”.
Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Prasad extended his “warm greetings and best wishes to Fijian peacekeepers serving in Libya, Iraq, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and elsewhere today. A big Vinaka Vakalevu to all of you and my greetings and my gratitude and great respect to all your families back in Fiji”.
“Our oceans diplomacy had a strong contribution to the United Nations Law of the Sea –– of which Fiji was the first signatory. Decades later, we co-chaired the first UN Oceans Conference.
Today, we are working with all of you for the sustainable management of the ocean and its resources; Fiji was the first country to ratify the Paris Agreement.
We were the first SIDS to co-chair COP23. We are working with all of you on raising ambition, speed and scale of climate financing. We are working with all of you to help the world, including its smallest states to achieve the SDG’s within this decade.
I thank generations of Fijian diplomats who have worked with all of you and your predecessors on these grave challenges,” Ambassador Prasad said. He stated that across all of these challenges, time and time again, Fiji has placed its faith in multilateral solutions. It has placed its faith in cooperation over competition”.
“But a global pandemic and a climate crisis are undoing decades of human development. A COVID-19 vaccine is still only guaranteed for those who can afford it. Global temperature rise is still projected to rocket past the two-degree mark by mid-century. Our oceans are growing inhospitable, and a sixth mass extinction event appears well underway”.
“Fiji’s Prime Minister, Honorable Bainimarama told UN leaders that “50 years ago, upon joining the United Nations, Fiji recognised we had more to gain than we could ever give this assembly.
Every nation, large and small, stands a better chance at our best future by acting in solidarity”. “On the eve of its 50th anniversary of independence, Fiji reaffirms its commitment to working with all of you for a world of net-zero emissions, of sustainably managed oceans, of gender equality, of digital inclusivity, and of equitable development.
Fiji reaffirms its commitment to working with all of you to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone, everywhere. Ambassador Prasad said that
“I wanted to leave one important message that sums up our 50 years of UN membership. Fiji is not a fair-weather friend of multilateralism. We are here; we are committed; we are determined, and we will stay the course. You will find a helping hand from us when the seas are choppy.
You will find us cheering and urging the UN on when the waters are calm. “I thank all of you who have stood with Fiji in whichever way you could to help our country reach this point. For with a national foundation as strong as we have, our next 50 years is surely one of limitless possibilities,” Ambassador Prasad said.