Permanent Representative of Fiji Chairs Last 2013 Meeting of G77 Ambassadors in New York
Ambassadors of the Group of 77 and China gathered in New York today for their last formal meeting at the United Nations in 2013. The meeting of the ambassadors of the 133 member states of the world’s developing countries was attended by the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador John Ashe, and the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.
The meeting was the last in a series of monthly G77 ambassadorial meetings convened in 2013 at the initiative of the Fiji Chair, as preparatory meetings for the UN’s task of negotiating the global Post-2015 Development Agenda. Today’s meeting featured an interactive dialogue on the development agenda with a focus on the way forward in 2014.
As this was the last occasion on which he would be chairing G77 ambassadors in a formal setting, Fiji’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Peter Thomson, delivered closing remarks that urged the Group’s unity in undertaking the great tasks of 2014 and 2015, namely: the acceleration of the achievement of the MDGs, the creation of the SDGs, and the elaboration of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. He told the membership, “Those tasks will ask much of us as a Group, for a hurting planet demands wiser stewardship, and as long as poverty and inequality exist in the world, our struggle for righteousness is not done.”
Ambassador Thomson said the Group’s membership needed to constantly remind itself that its constituency was, “Not here in the silos of New York, or for that matter in Geneva - it is out there in the developing world that our responsibilities lie, out there where poverty, malnourishment, poor health services, lack of sanitation, and lack of clean water persist for over a billion people. All of our Group’s efforts here at the United Nations should be shepherded towards ending poverty and hunger, and delivering the essential services that are our constituency’s basic human right.”
He said that the Fiji Chairmanship had operated on the principle that progress at the United Nations does not emanate from adversarial corners, but from cooperation by those who meet in the middle. He said that Nelson Mandela had counseled us that leadership requires integrity and honesty yes, but it requires humility as well. The late President had said, "A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger ... If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
Fiji’s Ambassador told the meeting that the 21st Century’s greatest challenges were looming ahead: climate change, human migration and poverty eradication. He said these were universal challenges for humanity and that we must manage our response to these phenomena to the very best of our ability if further human misery is to be avoided. He urged the Group of 77 Ambassadors that they should work constructively as a unified collective alongside the representatives of developed partners, in a universal and sustainable mind-frame, so that the United Nations organisation could achieve the best it can for humanity.
Ambassador Thomson ended his remarks as Chair by paying tribute to the team of dedicated diplomats at the Fiji Mission, naming Luke Daunivalu, Sainivalati Navoti, Yolinda Chan, Eliesa Tuiloma, Namita Khatri, Peni Suveinakama and Lavenia Rokovucago. He said they had given their all for Fiji in 2013 in the service of the Group of 77 and China, and that he wanted everyone to know how greatly their service has been appreciated.