Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, held a significant meeting with the UNDP Administrator & UN Under Secretary-General Mr Achim Steiner and Ms. Kanni Wignaraja at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the Fiji-UNDP partnership and express gratitude for the UNDP’s continued commitment to Fiji’s development since its independence.
The partnership, which began with the signing of the Standard Basic Assistance Agreement (SBAA) in 1971, was underscored as a testament to Fiji’s enduring ties with UNDP.
Prime Minister Rabuka acknowledged UNDP’s active role in the development of Fiji and the Pacific region, recognising UNDP’s presence during his previous tenure as Fiji’s Prime Minister in the late ’90s.
He highlighted UNDP’s significance as the largest development organization within the UN system in the Pacific, strategically positioned to influence neighboring countries’ development through regional interventions.
The Prime Minister commended UNDP for its substantial programmatic portfolio growth in the Pacific, which has expanded from approximately USD$200M to USD$350M over the past five years.
This portfolio focuses on critical areas such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, risk-informed development, effective governance, and the transformation of the blue economy to benefit the vulnerable populations.
Regarding UN programming in the Pacific, Prime Minister Rabuka noted the separation of the functions of the UNDP Resident Representative from the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, emphasising the need for close collaboration despite the dynamic in the UN system.
Prime Minister Rabuka also welcomed UNDP’s consideration of a high-level mission to Fiji, scheduled for October 10-14, 2023, led by Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, Assistant Administrator/UN Assistant Secretary-General.
This mission is expected to frame potential areas of development cooperation, aligning with emerging development priorities.
The Prime Minister expressed anticipation for an upcoming meeting with Ms. Tuya Altangerel, the new UNDP Resident Representative, and anticipated Fiji’s continued role as a major hub for UNDP engagement in the Pacific.