Pacific leaders meet to ensure regional voice heard at UN
Pacific leaders meet to ensure the region has a strong voice, and it's priorities are reflected, when members of the United Nations set global development goals later this year.
Pacific leaders have met to ensure the region has a strong voice, and its priorities are reflected, when the United Nations set global development goals later this year.
The United Nations Population Fund organised the Pacific Dialogue on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which took place in Auckland last week.
Leilani Momoisea reports.
In September this year the United Nations will meet in New York to endorse new global sustainable development goals, known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The UN Population Fund's Pacific Sub-Regional office's director, Laurent Zessler, says an informal meeting with Pacific country representatives was called, to make sure the region is fully heard in this global process.
"They want to make sure that climate change related issues are reflected. They want to make sure also that their priorities, in terms of social priorities, are reflected. In our case we talk about gender related issues, empowerment of women, that young people have a voice, they want to make sure that this is reflected in the global agenda.
Dr Zessler says the Pacific has the ability to advance the global agenda when, with the support of New Zealand and Australia, it has a united regional voice. He says one example of this is the region's advancement of climate change issues, which can be seen in the draft form of the Sustainable Development Goals.
"Two goals for example are related to climate change. Ocean preservation, addressing sea-level rising, and so on. I think we have seen that now this has been very much because the countries are concerned and they want this to be universally recognised, so there is progress."
And he says Pacific countries' are progressive in their decision-making in terms of comprehensive sex education and determination to tackle gender-based violence.
The Director of the Fiji Ministry of Youth and Sports, William Naisara, was part of the Fiji delegation at the meeting. He says he's pleased to see that the need to invest in youth is coming through very clearly as a Pacific priority.
However, Mr Naisara says some goals that the Pacific has supported in regional mandates, are not featuring as prominently as they should in the draft sustainable development goals.
"And one of which is youth. We are being guided towards what processes are available to us, to elevate these issues that are not featuring as prominent as we would like in the sustainable development goals, and that is something which includes young people."
The Cook Islands Speaker of Parliament, Niki Rattle, says the meeting has been important as well to help countries build the confidence needed to negotiate at the UN level.
"And being able to be fully informed of the information that's necessary to take to the negotiation table, and being able to speak up. Because often we as Pacific people in these meetings are quite silent, so it's gaining that confidence, as a region we become very strong in expressing our views and putting those matters on the table."
Niki Rattle says the solidarity of the Pacific region is often recognised, and the region has been able to put together very strong documents to address global issues. These documents include the Moana Declaration, and the SAMOA Pathway, which prioritizes sexual health and reproductive rights.
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