Posts tagged G77

PM Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of Heads of Mission Consultations

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

This year’s annual examination of Fiji’s diplomatic strategies may be the most important since we gained independence. We are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of our international relations.

It is absolutely essential to ensure that we are meeting our international commitments, delivering tangible results to the Fijian people, and best representing Fiji’s interests amongst the community of nations.

After gaining Independence in 1970, Fiji became the 127th member of the United Nations. Our diplomatic presence overseas was the ‘bare minimum’.

Just five years ago, Fiji still only had eleven Missions abroad. Today, there are 17. This number will continue to grow as we strengthen and develop new relationships with non-traditional partners and friends.

The significant expansion of Fijian diplomacy in the past five years stands testament to our growing influence and diverse interests in a dynamic and evolving global landscape.

Fiji is becoming a cohesive, unified force that is truly independent. We are taking charge of our own destiny and carving out our own niche in the world. We don’t see ourselves as beholden to anyone.

We will act in our own interests, not the interests of those who attempt to impose their will on us. The days of us being dictated to by outsiders are over.

In 2013, I can proudly say that Fiji has demonstrated its leadership credentials – in our region and to the world. We have shown that the strength of our leadership is in our ability to form solidarity and unity amongst fellow nations. As a result, our international standing has never been higher.

Fiji has assumed the chairmanship of the largest negotiating bloc at the United Nations, the G77 plus China, and Fiji has actively advanced the causes of the developing world.

Fiji has been elected the chair of the International Sugar Council, the peak body of the International Sugar Organisation, which consists of 86 countries representing 97 per cent of the world’s sugar production.

And Fiji has emerged as one of the world’s most dynamic countries in delivering ICT services and infrastructure to our people, presenting our reforms in a number of international conferences, including a High Level Forum in Hong Kong last week.

Within the region, we are restructuring the landscape of the Pacific, together with our neighbours, to better suit the needs, demands and aspirations of our peoples.

We recently handed over the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, having—during our leadership— achieved significant strides toward achieving a bold vision: a common economic union and single market. This includes convening the first-ever meeting of MSG Trade Ministers in May this year.

Fiji has also assumed a leadership role within the Pacific ACP –  after our full reinstatement last year – and we are working with our fellow Pacific nations to negotiate a favourable and appropriate Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union. Last December, Fiji chaired the EU-ACP Trade Negotiations in Geneva, and in May we hosted a meeting of PACP Trade Ministers.

But perhaps the most exciting honour for Fiji will come at the beginning of August when we host the very first meeting of the Pacific Islands Development Forum. Twenty-three Pacific countries will participate, as well as 10 foreign countries with observer status.

The Forum marks a significant new beginning in the Pacific. It is the first of its kind. It will bring together not only Leaders of Government, but also representatives from civil society and the business sector. It will allow participants to discuss and debate Pacific issues, values and interests without the influence and interference by our larger, traditional partners.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

These exciting developments in Fiji’s international position are matched by developments underway at home: economic, social, environmental and political.

This is a story we need to be telling the world. We are finalising a new Constitution that specifically includes – for the first time – socio-economic rights for all Fijians.

This includes the right to economic participation, the right to work and the right to a just minimum wage, as well as to such things as transportation and adequate food and water.

Our new Constitution will introduce long overdue democratic principles– for the first time – an electoral system that removes the legal enforcement of ethnic voting, enshrines one person, one vote, one value and helps voters focus on the merits of the policies the respective political parties are offering.

It will introduce an entirely new regime of accountability and transparency.

We’ve also embarked on a massive drive of voter registration, using biometric technology that will help us eliminate vote fraud and identity theft.  So far, 530,000 Fijians – representing more than 80% of eligible voters – have registered to vote.  And we’re not done; we plan to keep registering voters until the election writs are issued. This will also mean that we will be registering Fijians living offshore and we will require assistance from your Missions.

So now, I would like to pose a question to every one of you: how are your Missions contributing to the greater movement of reform, development and progress in Fiji now?

What are the tangible results you are delivering to the Fijian people?

Is there more you could be doing?

Are there new markets to be developed? Opportunities for new imports, or new exports?

Are you doing enough to seek out investment that will grow our economy?

What are ways to better advance our nation’s interests abroad?

Answering questions like these is what this week’s consultations are all about. More importantly, answering these questions is our responsibility to the Fijian people.

You are on the front line in your posts overseas. In addition to your traditional diplomatic roles, it is up to each of you to develop new markets for Fijian products, to attract new investment to our shores, and to sell “Brand Fiji” to the world.

You must constantly be focused on creating opportunities for Fiji and Fijians.

We now have Fiji Airways, Film Fiji, Tourism Fiji and Investment Fiji. We are carving out our own space in highly competitive international markets.

We are marketing high-quality, niche products that capitalise on our unique and pristine environment and people.

It is critical that you establish direct links with the respective agencies.

Last night you met with some of the Fijian businesses interests. You must be able to directly and efficiently co-ordinate with Fijian businesses and the relevant approval agencies. Let’s cut down on the red tape, unclog the investment pipeline and remove unnecessary bureaucracy.

We must focus on creating new opportunities for Fiji and all Fijians. Whether it is furthering our national interests at international forums or through international law and committees; accessing education and training opportunities for our people; attracting quality foreign investment; promoting trade; or creating trading and investment opportunities for Fijian products and companies – we cannot relent on our objectives.

My Government will ensure that you are empowered, ably supported, and provided with the right tools and tradecraft to lead the implementation of Fiji’s policies.

Over the next few days, I urge you to use this forum to consolidate your strengths, and identify the gaps in your respective Missions and here in the capital.

Ambassadors and High Commissioners, with those words, I now officially declare the 2013 Heads of Missions Consultations open.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

 

Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama’s Dinner Speech at South-South Forum in Hong Kong

Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all.

After the wonderful hospitality shown to the participants of this Forum, I would like to thank our hosts for all they have done to make us feel at home.

Allow me to extend a special word of thanks to the Honorable Mr. CY Leung, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, for his strong support of this Forum. The Chief Executive is a leader in efforts to advance the ICT agenda in the Asia-Pacific Region and we all look forward to future collaboration with him.

To the organisers, we extend our thanks for their time, effort and detailed preparations.

And finally, to the participants: your productive contributions during today’s discussions have added depth and insight that has benefited us all. Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.

This High-level Forum has certainly achieved its objective of showcasing ways that technology can improve the lives of our peoples. And it’s been an opportunity for us to forge new relationships – with other Governments, and with members of the private sector.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We must resist the tendency to see the developed world as the source of all innovation and ideas. This is not the case. As nations of the South, there is much we can offer each other, in the true spirit of solidarity, self-reliance and interdependence.

There is a huge amount of innovation taking place in the developing world, especially in the ICT sector. Each country here has unique insights and valuable experience to share. In this context, South-South cooperation becomes an avenue through which we can spread technological progress amongst ourselves, and work to empower our peoples.

South-South cooperation cannot be an abstract concept or an empty slogan; it must be a means for reaching all of our peoples; and for us as nations to share information on new technology.

On behalf of the Fijian Government and people, I pledge Fiji’s full support for this great effort to share wisdom and experience.

Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must also acknowledge the importance of partnership with the private sector, to learn from its expertise and best practices. We should resist the urge to limit our relationships to traditional partners. Rather, we should actively seek new, dynamic and productive opportunities and forge new alliances and partnerships, wherever they may present themselves.

In Fiji, technology is one of the cornerstones of my Government’s reform agenda. We believe that strategic partnership with the private sector, across a broad front, is the best way to deliver quality, value, and transparency to our people.

Today’s Forum has been an illuminating experience. Looking ahead, the Chairman’s summary, which will be submitted during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in September of this year, will ensure that our outcomes will serve as the foundation for future discussions that will promote success, stimulate growth and create wealth and prosperity for our nations and our peoples.

I wish you all an enjoyable evening and a safe return trip home.

Vinaka Vakalevu. Thank you.

FIJIAN PRIME MINISTER BAINIMARAMA TO PRESENT AT G77 MEET IN HONG KONG

The Fijian Prime Minister and Chair of the G77, Voreqe Bainimarama, will be speaking on the vast potential technology has to benefit the lives of ordinary people in the developing world, citing innovations and reforms that have taken place in Fiji, at a high level international forum in Hong Kong this week.

The Prime Minister departed today to deliver the key note address at the High Level Forum for South-South Cooperation for Sustainable Development.

The meet gathers international experts from across the globe, including senior government officials represented at the United Nations.

Themed “ICT, Innovation, Culture and Sustainable Urbanisation”, the high level forum includes a presentation by the Secretary General of the United Nations International Telecommunications Union, Dr Hamadoun Toure.

PM Bainimarama’s Speech at the Opening of the China Beijing International Fair in the Trade in Services

Bula Vinaka. A very good morning and Ni hao.

On behalf of the Fijian people and Government, I would like to thank the People’s Republic of China for their kind invitation for Fiji to be part of the official opening ceremony of the “China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.” This is the first comprehensive platform specializing in the trade in services around the world, and it is indeed a great pleasure to be here.

Honorable Chair, Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the Fiji–China friendship has strengthened considerably since we first established diplomatic relations in 1975. The relationship has broadened to encompass a wide range of interests, including agriculture, trade, higher education, telecommunications and tourism.

Together, our two countries continue to discover new areas of partnership and common interest.

Together, Fiji and China are expanding trade in services – a critical sector of economic growth where we – as with all developing nations  – are exploring exciting new opportunities.

China’s experience in using its service industry to advance development and restructure its economy is a great example, especially for its role in the continuing improvement of the quality of life of both urban and rural Chinese.

Honorable Chair, Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as the chair of the Group of 77 plus China – the largest negotiating bloc at the United Nations – Fiji is committed to advancing the interests of the developing world.

A top priority must be to help grow the contribution service industries make to the national economies of developing nations.

For Fiji, the services sector has been vital in spurring economic growth and creating jobs. Thanks to a thriving tourism industry and significant developments in the ICT sector, services now contribute close to 70 per cent of Fiji’s GDP – up from 64 per cent a decade ago. Around 90,000 Fijians – more than a quarter of our workforce –  rely on this sector for employment.

But on average, in developing nations, services account for a little more than half of gross domestic product.

Collectively, for developing nations, there is still much progress to be made in the services sector.

Today, the South makes up only 30 per cent of the 4.4 trillion dollars worth of annual service exports.

However, in the developed world, services contribute on average 74 per cent to national GDP. We need to close that gap.

Although resources and manufacturing will continue to play an important role in our economies, the service industries are where the most future growth will come for the developing world, and with this growth, a huge potential for improving the lives of our peoples.

This forum which promotes new networks and partnerships for the advancement of the services sector – especially amongst developing nations –is of great importance to the Government and people of Fiji.

Once again, I thank our hosts for inviting Fiji to take part in this event.

On that note Honorable Chair, Excellencies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I wish the hosts and participants of the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services all success.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you and Xiexie.

PM Bainimarama Grants 12 Families New Homes

Twelve families of Ba and Lautoka were handed keys to their new homes by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama today.

The homes were constructed by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces and private contractors that cost more than $130,000.

The owners of these homes had lost everything during Tropical Cyclone Evan last year and they are either casual workers or retired Fijians.

In handing over the homes, the Prime Minister reiterated government’s commitment towards assisting those individuals and families get their lives to normalcy.

“Government is happy to assist you, however, you must continue to work hard in helping your families,” PM Bainimarama said.

“These homes are a small assistance from government to help in rebuilding lives after your hardships after the cyclone.”

Whole communities, which gathered to witness the handing over, were grateful to the Government in moving the country forward.

“We thank you Mr Prime Minister for your leadership in steering Fiji towards prosperity,” one said.

“We hope that your government continues to unite Fijians and improve living standards of all Fijians.”

The executive director of the Group of 77 (G77), Mr Mourad Ahmia also witnessed the events in the Western Division today.

Closing Remarks by the Chair of the Group of 77, Fiji Prime Minister Bainimarama

Honourable Presidents,

Honourable Prime Ministers,

Ministers, Excellencies,

Distinguished Participants,

1.    Now that we have arrived at the end of our meeting, I would like to thank you all most sincerely for your productive engagement during these two days of our deliberations.  I would like to express on my own behalf, as well as that of the Government of Fiji, sincere words of appreciation to all of you members of this distinguished panel for your excellent contributions.  As Chair of G77 and China I say on behalf of our full membership of 132 nations, vinaka vaka levu, thank you very much.

2.    The outcome has been very successful. We have agreed that developing countries have accumulated degrees of development capacity that can be shared and viably used through a solid platform of South-South cooperation. We heard during this meeting a number of very insightful presentations on the important subject of South-South cooperation, which is of utmost importance for the Member States of the Group of 77 and China.

3.    Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

South-South Cooperation is a key element in the development agenda of our countries. It is imperative that we construct a strong platform for ourselves, harnessing political will, as we move forward. We have also emphasized that the obligation of the North to financially and technically support the South remains. Thus in the interests of global harmony, equity and development we must strengthen the development commitments of North-South, South-South and triangular cooperation. We have agreed that the current international architecture needs to be restructured in order to respond to the new realities and opportunities for development.

4.    We have also agreed on the need to reinforce the co-ordination of developing countries in our policy and joint negotiating positions on major issues in the international agenda. Strengthening existing multilateral funding mechanisms for South-South Cooperation and promoting regional, inter-regional and sub-regional sectoral cooperation in strategic fields have also been identified as important determinants in this endeavor.

5.    The Development Platform for the South is an invaluable tool for guiding and strengthening multilateral South-South cooperation. It will provide a pathway for the South in approaching the international economic arena.  Furthermore, the Platform is a strategic tool for political guidance, a compass for the South, which contains the goals and aspirations for economic growth and prosperity in the South. It will contribute to building South-North coalitions on development and related issues of global interest such as climate change, biodiversity, natural disasters, and sustainable development in global governance. It will optimize the voice and participation of developing countries in the international fora.

6.    As we look back at the interactive dialogue we have engaged here in Natadola, we can conclude without a doubt that our deliberations have been full and substantive. There was a high level of agreement that South-South cooperation can produce greater results and that time has come to invest more efforts and resources into this cooperation. In this regard, we call on the UN System and all development partners to make it a priority to promote South-South cooperation in order to secure real progress in countries of the South.

7.    Let me assure you that South-South cooperation will continue to represent the best form of solidarity, self-reliance and interdependence among the members of the Group of 77 and China, and we will pursue our work with the same sense of commitment and vigour, for the unity and solidarity of the Group.

8.    In conclusion, as your host, allow me to express once again our sincere thanks to all of you distinguished panel members and resource personnel for your dedication to the success of the Panel.

9.    Last but not the least, let me thank Mr. Mourad Ahmia, our Executive Secretary, and his team in New York for the excellent arrangements made for the success of this Panel.  My thanks also go to all of the hardworking staff of the Fiji Government who have contributed directly or indirectly to the smooth functioning of this meeting.

I wish all of you all a safe return trip home and look forward to joining you at this evening’s reception being hosted by His Excellency the President of Fiji.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Hosts Reception for G77 Delegates

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama Welcomes Heads of State at the Opening of G77

Prime Minister Bainimarama’s Remarks at G77 Welcoming Reception

Bula vinaka and a very good evening to you all.

On behalf of the Government and people of Fiji, I want to again welcome you to our shores and to say what an honour it is for us to have you here. I hope you are enjoying this beautiful setting and the balmy weather, however short your stay with us may be.

I want to thank our international visitors, in particular, for taking the time to be with us in Fiji.

Your presence at this gathering is a testament to your commitment to the vision and objectives of the Group of 77. We are all working to advance our common objective to further advance our Development Platform Agenda and engage fully in the global economy.

As Chair of the G77, I have deeply appreciated the support that Fiji has received from members of the Group. This has been exemplified by the discussions we have had today, which have been marked by constructive, interactive dialogue in a spirit of frank and friendly cooperation.

I am confident that the outcome of our deliberations will be to pursue fresh and creative approaches to address the challenges we all face as developing countries.

These challenges require us to work together in a concerted manner rather than work in isolation. I believe that it is only through collaboration and cooperation that we can realise our collective vision for the G77, which is to use our unity and strength for the benefit of all our peoples.

This evening, we come together to celebrate that unity in a spirit of solidarity and friendship. Thank you all for being here and I hope you all enjoy our Fijian hospitality.

Vinaka vakalevu.

PM Bainimarama Speaks at the Opening of the G77 Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

1.  In my capacity as Chair of the Group of 77 (G77), it gives me great pleasure and honour to welcome each of you to thisbrainstorming session of the High-level Panel of Eminent Personalities of the South. We are meeting to discuss the Development Platform for the South.

2.  Allow me to convey to you, on behalf of the Government and the people of Fiji, our deep appreciation for taking the time out of your very busy schedules to join us in this important meeting here in the beautiful natural surroundings of Natadola.

3.  This demonstrates your keen interest and commitment to the promotion of South-South cooperation. I am confident that your wealth of experience and your wisdom will be of immense benefit to our meeting and to the South as a whole.

4.  This meeting aims to pursue the Group of 77’s South Summit mandates, in order to address the relevant development challenges of the South, taking into account the evolving realities and hardships facing the developing world. Through our discussions, we will reflect on the future landscape of South-South cooperation and recommend action-oriented decisions that will contribute significantly to the Development Platform for the South.

5.  As we prepare for the celebration of the Fiftieth anniversary of the Group’s creation next year, the Group of 77 must continue to take the lead in the transforming landscape of South-South cooperation by updating the South Development Platform. Our efforts should aim to enhance the solidarity of the Group of 77 in order to improve the development efforts of southern countries. We must work together to strengthen the role of the Group of 77 and reshape the architecture of the UN development system in support of our aims.

6.  We must also bolster our efforts to make the importance of South-South cooperation clear to our people. This means that we must promote wide public awareness campaigns about its benefits for the developing world through the full use of modern information technologies. Mass media, including social media, has an important role to play and we should encourage its use as widely as possible.

7.  Let me add that the outcome of our meeting this week will be included in the upcoming G77 Ministerial meeting to be held in New York in September and will be fully integrated in the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Group of 77, as well as the preparations of the Third South Summit in 2014.

8.  I wish you success in your deliberations.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.