PM CALLS FOR UNITY TO FACE SERIOUS GLOBAL CHALLENGES

Fiji begins its year as chair of the G77

UNITED NATIONS -? January 15, 2013 – Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has called for developing nations to draw together to press for solutions to the developing world?s most urgent problems.

He made the remarks at the UN Headquarters in New York, as he accepted – on behalf? of the Government and people of Fiji – the chairmanship of the G77 from the Republic of Algeria, which held the position last year.

The G77 is the largest bloc of nations at the United Nations, and consists of more than 130 developing countries.

In his address to the Group, Prime Minister Bainimarama affirmed Fiji?s promotion of the interests, principles and objectives of the G77.

The Prime Minister said that although the world had changed in a number of ways since the G77 was formed in 1967, its founding mission to boost the role and influence of developing nations at the UN was still as valid as ever.

He said that in the coming years one of the G77?s main challenges will be to defend the diverse and inclusive nature of the United Nations from efforts that seek to reduce it merely to an administrative body on the one hand, or that seek to make it serve the interests of a minority on the other.

?Fiji is committed to supporting the G77?s efforts to preserve the spirit of the UN Charter and to make the UN a more effective forum for confronting and resolving the challenges developing nations face in today?s world,? the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister reminded the Group that despite its great diversity, its strength lies in its ability to present a common front.

?Our collective interests and the successful pursuit of these interests depend on our ability to effectively mobilize our members in various forums and to maintain the most unified positions possible whenever our common development goals are at stake.?

But the Prime Minister said that the global challenges now facing developing nations require better cooperation and coordination amongst members of the Group. He pledged that Fiji would provide all necessary resources at various levels to accomplish this goal, including at its Permanent Mission in New York under the leadership of His Excellency, Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr. Peter Thomson.

In the coming year, the Prime Minister said that the G77 will focus on supporting sustainable development ; promoting the Millennium Development Goals and other international agreed development goals ; following-up on the processes agreed to at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Jaineiro last June ; and the strengthening cooperation with the Non-Aligned Movement ;? amongst others.

The Secretary-General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, was present with the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Vuk Jeremic, to welcome Fiji as chair. Mr. Jeremic congratulated Fiji and said that it was the first time a Pacific island nation had assumed the chairmanship. He said that he was confident that Fiji would prove to both the Group and the rest of the UN that small nations are capable of assuming such great responsibilities.