Fiji Statement to the High Political Forum
At the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development in New York today, Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Peter Thomson, delivered Fiji’s statement on the theme of charting the way towards an ambitious Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Fiji statement emphasised that what the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have been articulating in relation to the post-2015 Development Agenda, in particular in relation to climate change and the health of the oceans, is a global call for a development agenda that will be for the good of humanity as a whole.
Ambassador Thomson acknowledged that the SIDS are at the existential front-line of the effects of climate change. “We now know for sure,” he said, “that the effects are anthropogenically created. We have to accept that the future is one of rising sea levels, ocean acidification and increasing severity of storms, droughts and other natural hazards. But what has probably not been said clearly enough is that no one on this planet will be spared the deleterious effects of climate change.”
With the UN’s Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) entering its closing stages this month, Fiji’s Ambassador said it was heartening to see that both climate change and oceans issues have made their way onto the draft global development agenda. He said there can be no sustainability in this world if we do not have adequate goals to address the challenges of climate change and the prospect of barren oceans. He called on Member States to protect these universal goals and strengthen the targets pertaining to climate change and oceans, such as management of ocean resources and reduction of marine pollution.
Resting on the three pillars of sustainable development, the Fiji statement referred to the clear guidance that the Rio+20 Summit had given the world. Ambassador Thomson said that, “Taking these as our lead, this year Fiji instituted a Green Growth framework to guide national development, putting people at the centre of development and building environmental resilience, building social improvement and reducing poverty through economic growth, while implementing measures to improve resilience to the anticipated adverse effects of climate change.” He presented this step forward by Fiji as a concrete example of how SIDS are acting to achieve “The Future We Want”.
The Fiji statement to the HLPF highlighted the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), describing it as a unique regional platform bringing together Pacific leaders, from the public and private sectors and civil society, to address regional development challenges through mutually beneficial innovative partnerships. He said PIDF had been formed in the belief that no one sector in society can alone deliver the complexities of sustainable development.
The Fiji statement also highlighted gender issues, expressing approval for the currently strong stand-alone SDG for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls, supported by focused targets. Ambassador Thomson said that violence against women and girls, and their trafficking and sexual exploitation, have no proper place in civilized society. He said that Fiji was rising to the challenge of correcting these ills, and looked forward to the support of partners in meeting the SDG targets being set in this regard.
Ambassador Thomson emphasised to the HLPF the need for the international community to achieve universal access to reproductive health, universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, and the need to further reduce maternal and child mortality, as well as the adoption of a rights-based approach in implementing policies and programmes on adolescent health, sexual and reproductive health, and child health. He said it was highly important for human society that the gaps in implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development be addressed, and that action in this regard must be central to the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
The Fiji statement concluded with the observation that there had been scepticism about the scope and utility of the MDGs. “Yet, despite some remaining gaps,’ Ambassador Thomson, “we can now say that humanity took great development strides under the MDGs, covering more ground than many sceptics thought possible. We must build on the lessons of the MDG achievements and take the same level of ambition into the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the pursuit of the SDGs. To do any less would be a disservice to future generations.”