Caption: 5th plenary meeting of the General Assembly 68th session: Opening of the General Debate.
24 September 2013, New York: Prime Minister Josaia V. Bainimarama delivered a major statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China today during the inaugural meeting of the High-level Political Forum (HLPF).
The Prime Minister was the first to speak on a Leaders Dialogue Panel also comprising of the President of the European Commission, the President of Turkey, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the Vice President of the Swiss Federal Council.
The idea of establishing the HLPF originated from the Rio+20 Conference last year when UN Member States decided to give more political visibility to sustainable development. The HLPF replaces the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD), which for the last 20 years provided the international community’s home for sustainable development.
“While we reflected on the lessons learned from twenty years of the work of the CSD, we also look forward to the rise of the High-level Political Forum, which we firmly believe should be a more vibrant and robust platform, with high-level political visibility, for sustainable development” said Prime Minister Bainimarama to a fully packed Trusteeship Chamber graced by the presence of the UN Secretary-General and Heads of States and Governments from the 193 UN Member States. Also in attendance were heads of international organisations such as the President of the World Bank and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund.
Prime Minister Bainimarama further stated that the HLPF should provide political leadership to further enhance international cooperation on sustainable development. He underscored the need to address sustainable development challenges from the prism of poverty eradication as its overarching objective. Outlining the functions of the HLPF, Prime Minister Bainimarama said it should “comprehensively implement the Rio+20 mandates and follow-up on the fulfillment of commitments, especially those related to the means of implementation: finance, technology and capacity building”.
While speaking on the importance of having effective multi-stakeholder dialogues within the HLPF, Prime Minister Bainimarama said the Forum should include think-tanks and research institutions from the South, such as the South Centre and the Third World Network, or newly established regional organizations from the developing world such as the Pacific Islands Development Forum. Prime Minister Bainimarama said the HLPF should serve as a conduit for all those voices who wish to be heard, whose perspectives and contributions matter as much as those of policy makers.