The
strong relationship between the United Nations and Fiji will again be on
display with the arrival of the President of the 74th Session of the United
Nations General Assembly, Dr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande to Fijian soil.

As a show of Fiji’s heightened relations with the United Nations, the President of the United Nations General Assembly will make his first official visit to Fiji this week from 5th to 8th March, 2020.

The visit attests to the unwavering commitment and collaboration between Fiji and the United Nations since Fiji become a member in 1970.

H.E.
Muhammad-Bande has had a distinguished career as a scholar and diplomat. He
first served as the Vice President of the Assembly’s seventy-first session in
2016 and elected President of the UNGA during the 74th UNGA session in 2019.

The President of the General Assembly’s visit to Fiji complements the momentum created by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres historic visit to Fiji last year.

The PGA’s visit will focus on key priorities on Climate Change, Oceans, Youth and Women empowerment and the United Nations role in supporting member states achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in this decade. 

During
his official visit to Fiji, President Muhammad-Bande will pay a courtesy call
on His Excellency, the President of Fiji, Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konusi
Konrote and meet with the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Hon. Aiyaz
Sayed-Khaiyum.

Courtesy
calls will also be made to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defence and
National Security, Hon. Jone Usamate and the Minister for Women, Children and
Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Mereseini Vuniwaqa.

The
visit also aligns with Fiji’s commitment to playing its part in implementing
the Sustainable Development Goals 2030; appreciating the Secretary-General’s
vision on UN reform in calling for a UN that can deliver services that better
support members states, particularly the Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
in achieving Fiji’s National Development Plan.

The
visit is also an opportunity for Fiji to showcase its own contributions to the
United Nations in recognition of Fiji’s 50thIndependence celebrations. 2020
also marks the United Nations commemoration of its 75th anniversary.

Year
2020, is set to be a banner year for Fiji’s global advocacy and development
cooperation with the United Nations in the development of UN Peacekeeping,
advancement of Human Rights, and Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

This
week, President Muhammad-Bande  expects to further gain an overview of UN
activities in Fiji and the Pacific and engage with local communities impacted
by climate change. As part of this, he will be visiting the Suva Market for a
tour of the Markets for Change programme.

Delivered
in partnership with the Governments of Australia and Canada, Markets for Change
is UN Women’s flagship programme for women’s economic empowerment in the
Pacific. Markets for change works to ensure marketplaces in areas of Fiji,
Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, to
promote gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

Additionally,
a trip to the Fiji School for the Blind is planned with UNICEF – the branch of
the United Nations that works with and for disadvantaged children and
adolescents across the Pacific Islands. 

Later
on Friday, President Muhammad-Bande will hold an open dialogue with the public
at the Japan Pacific ICT Centre at the University of the South Pacific.

The
United Nations announced last year that it would be holding a year-long
Listening Exercise in 2020 to mark the 75th Anniversary of the organisation’s
existence.

The
Pacific Listening Tour, as it has been dubbed in the region seeks to drive
conversation in all segments of society – from classrooms to boardrooms,
parliaments to village halls – placing special emphasis on those whose voices
are too often marginalized or not heard in global affairs. Members of the
public are invited to attend from 4:30pm.

On
Saturday, President Muhammad-Bande will travel to Vusama Village – a low-lying
coastal village in the Tuva Catchment – where the United Nations Development
Programme is implementing a Ridge to Reef approach to preserve ecosystem
services, reduce carbon, improve climate resilience and sustain livelihoods in
Fiji.

A
visit to Vunato Settlement in Lautoka is also on the cards, where the President
will join UN Habitat – the United Nations agency for human settlements – to
learn more about the lived experiences of a community battling climate
vulnerability.

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