UN Resident Coordinator, Osnat Lubrani: Launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Photo Exhibition

Jul 11, 2017

Photo: UNDP/Setaita Tavanabola

 

On behalf of the UN in the Pacific, I am delighted to welcome you all to this SDG photo exhibition. We are deeply honoured to have the Prime Minister of Fiji with us as Chief Guest to launch this SDG exhibit. I welcome the ministers, members of the diplomatic corps, regional and international partners, representatives of civil society, friends from the media, to this special night. 

The global Sustainable Development Goals belong to all of us. These goals are community goals, national goals, and Pacific goals; they promise to leave no one behind and to reach the furthest behind first. The 17 SDGs cannot be achieved by governments alone, nor by donors, or regional or multilateral organisations. We need to all work together, and our work needs to be interwoven, and importantly, it must be owned and driven by individuals, groups and organizations at all levels, working in concert. 

It is very encouraging to note that Pacific Governments have shown early commitment to the Global Goals. Fiji, for instance has been at the forefront in embedding the SDGs within national strategies and visions. The 2030 Agenda calls for integration and alignment to make the complex and ambitious work ahead both practical and transformative. This is where the UN’s strong partnership, not only with individual countries, but also with the Pacific SDGs Regional Taskforce, is so important. 

To achieve the goals, we need strong leadership; we need champions willing to stand up against vested interests, to innovate, take risks, challenge the status quo. Fiji’s leadership and conviction in leading the world to address climate change and to protect of our oceans, is a source of inspiration and pride for the Pacific. We saw this most recently at the successful Climate Action Partnership event convened by Fiji.  

The UN in the Pacific is committed to its part in providing integrated support to Member States’ efforts to achieve the SDGs. Most UN agencies serve all Pacific Small Islands States out of Fiji. Considering Fiji’s strong role globally, as well as its commitment and capacities to help Pacific countries with development challenges, be it by opening its doors to those displaced by climate change, or by deploying rapid assistance in the aftermath of natural disasters – it makes for Fiji to host the UN’s largest hub in the Pacific. 

The UN agencies working in the Pacific provide a wealth of specialized expertise and knowledge which can benefit Pacific Island states.  Our new 2018-2022 Pacific Strategy is fully aligned with respective national plans and with Pacific regional priorities. We are committed to working as a unified UN Team in support of countries and peoples to turn the 2030 Agenda from a vision into a reality, focusing on six areas: 1) climate change disaster risk reduction and environmental protection, 2) gender equality, 3) economic development that benefits the most vulnerable 4) improved health, education, and social protection 5) effective democratic governance, and 6) human rights.  

Finally, each of the goals tells us a story of a development challenge, and leaves us with the challenge of telling a story on solutions. Advocacy on SDGs, including through photos and stories such as this exhibition is an opportunity to share knowledge, insights and images that make the story of sustainable development come alive and real for all of us.  Fiji has made impressive strides in advancing sustainable development and it therefore so very fitting that the Honourable Prime Minister of Fiji, is here with us to open this exhibition. Thank you, Prime Minister, and thank you everyone for attending. 

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