UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Country Director and Head of Pacific Regional Policy and Programme, Bakhodir Burkhanov: Launch of the SDG Photo ExhibitionJul 11, 2017
Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, iTaukei Affairs and Sugar Industry, Honorable Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama
Honorable Ministers, esteemed members of the diplomatic corps
Representatives of civil society, international and regional organizations
Members of the UN Country Team
Representatives of the media
Colleagues and friends:
Let me start by wishing you all a very good evening.
It is my distinct pleasure to welcome you to this event to witness the opening of the Sustainable Development Goals photo exhibition, the first-ever in the Pacific.
This initiative came about late last year with the purpose of showcasing the work being done in Fiji and the Pacific in pursuit of sustainable development. The idea is to connect with the public through pictures, in order to enhance the knowledge and understanding of issues that are critical to our lives.
This is indeed the whole point of SDGs. It’s not a theoretical framework that belongs on book shelves. It touches all of us every day; it is something that is central to our work, our families and our communities, irrespective of where we are, on continents and islands, in developed and developing countries alike.
As a set of development goals, SDGs are truly universal. Everyone can relate to them because everyone has goals and aspirations.
With that frame of mind, we have set out to select photos to represent all 17 Global Goals. Each picture has a message and a story to tell. Indeed, a picture can render the story in ways that are much more powerful, using another creative medium of arts.
We are pleased to bring these stories to the general public – because achieving the vision of SDGs requires broad-based awareness, action and partnerships of people, institutions, civil society and the private sector.
On this note, I wish to acknowledge the partnerships of Governments in the Pacific with the regional and international partners such as the Forum Secretariat, SPC, United Nations and development banks, to name a few. Much work lies ahead for all of us, but this effort has been putting Pacific people and their environment at the heart of development.
In the context of this event, I also want to recognize our collaboration with Pleass Beverage, whose vision is to enable rural communities to have better access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Tonight, they have showcased SDGs on the natural artesian Vai Wai water. I should also note that this water comes in a biodegradable bottle, providing a real example of how private sector can commit to sustainability.
Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the tremendous work by the Suva-based photographer Jason Chute, who shows his inspiration through the photographs – while not forgetting the small team that worked with him. Additional images were provided by Rob Rickman, Julie Morris, Aren Baoa and Robert Weather.
Ladies and gentlemen:
Promoting the SDGs and supporting their implementation is a top priority for UN in the Pacific. Through creative communications and engagement with citizens, UN agencies campaign to promote the Global Goals, so that women, men, boys and girls can understand what they are, and why they are important.
For UNDP, the Global Goals are at the heart of the work we do in nearly 170 countries to end poverty and inequality, and to promote resilience and environmental sustainability.
It is our hope that these photos will enhance people’s understanding of the SDGs and encourage them to take action to achieve these goals… Because it takes a collective and individual effort to achieve a life of dignity and prosperity for all – or to put it differently, a world full of happiness and smiles by 2030.
Thank you for coming and I hope you all enjoy the exhibition.