Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka introduced the concept of the Pacific as a ‘Zone of Peace’ in Fiji’s national address that he delivered at the UN General Assembly in New York this morning .
Echoing the Boe Declaration on Regional Security issued by Pacific Forum leaders, Prime Minister Rabuka stressed that this concept would be the Blue Pacific’s contribution to world order.
Recognizing the importance of the Blue Pacific as the world’s largest ocean and a significant carbon sink, Prime Minister Rabuka emphasized the need for its protection and sustainable management.
Prime Minister Rabuka made reference to the ‘2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent’ and the commitment to implement human rights covenants and conventions, including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and ILO Convention 169 on the Rights of Tribal and Indigenous People.
He emphasised how selfish goals are responsible for the complex issues and escalating geopolitical rivalries that pose a threat to international peace.
“Instead of leveraging multilateral determination to tackle these poly-crises, I urge nations to come together, emphasizing that we are living in unpredictable times that demand collective action for survival.”
The Prime Minister highlighted the Pacific region’s vulnerability, both to geopolitical tensions and climate change, emphasizing that climate change has been identified as a threat to peace and security in the Pacific.
He stressed that no nation can address this issue in isolation and called for a shared “Common Wealth” approach to ensure that no one is left behind.
Prime Minister Rabuka also addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Fiji’s economy, particularly the tourism sector, which is vital to their economic recovery.
He underscored the interconnectedness of global challenges and the need for integrated responses through effective multilateralism.
Regarding sustainable development, Prime Minister Rabuka expressed Fiji’s commitment to supporting the Secretary-General’s ‘Our Common Agenda’ and the acceleration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He commended the Secretary-General’s initiative to convene the Summit of the Future, which he deemed a pivotal opportunity to enhance global cooperation.
Prime Minister Rabuka called for stronger partnerships to respond to the “Call to Action” as the 2030 Agenda approaches its midway point.
He also highlighted Fiji’s commitment to global peace and security, with Fijian peacekeepers participating in six UN missions, and their alignment with the Secretary-General’s ‘New Agenda for Peace’ based on international law.
Prime Minister Rabuka concluded by affirming Fiji’s commitment to climate action, climate resilience, and the importance of COP28, especially in finalizing the Loss and Damage Fund modalities.
He called for urgent reform of the global financial architecture to make climate finance accessible to small island developing states.
The Prime Minister’s address at the UN General Assembly underscored Fiji’s dedication to global peace, sustainability, and addressing the pressing challenges of our time.