Fiji has been elected by the United Nations in New York as the chair of a major international body - the Group of Seventy Seven developing nations plus China known as the G77.
With this achievement Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama says all Fijians have reason to be intensely proud of Fiji and the advances it is making.
“We have been given the honour of presiding over the deliberations of an important bloc of nations in the world, including the world’s most populous country, China,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
“We truly have something to celebrate — that the small island nation is so well-regarded in the community of developing countries that they have decided to place Fiji at the top to chair their meetings.
“For the honour they have brought to Fiji, I want to pay tribute to the work of our Foreign Minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, and his team and our Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Peter Thomson,” Commodore Bainimarama said.
The election took place by acclamation at G77 Ministerial Meeting in New York yesterday, following the nomination of Fiji by the Asia-Pacific Group of the United Nations.
And with 132 Member States, the G77 is the largest intergovernmental organisation of developing countries in the UN.
Ratu Inoke was present at the Ministerial Meeting to accept the nomination.
He said it was with a sense of deep humility that Fiji accepted this high office, and that Fiji was very grateful for the collective confidence the G77 had shown in entrusting Fiji with the 2013 chairmanship.
He assured the Ministerial Meeting that Fiji would spare no effort to fulfill the obligations and functions that come with the burden of chairmanship.
“Fiji would discharge the responsibilities of the chair with honour, integrity and in a manner worthy of the trust of the Member States of the Group of 77 and China.”
He noted it’s a matter of pride for the Pacific Island region that for the first time in the 48-year history of G77, the G77 chair in 2013 is from one of the Pacific Small Island Developing Countries.
Ratu Inoke expressed Fiji’s admiration for the high standards being set by the current G77 chair, Algeria.
“It was Fiji’s intention to build on Algeria’s many achievements in promoting the common agenda of the G77 and strengthening the group’s solidarity,” Ratu Inoke said.
The president of the General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, and the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, were present at the Ministerial Meeting and congratulated Ratu Inoke on Fiji’s election to the 2013 G77 chair.
The Group of 77 and China was established in 1964 by 77 developing countries, signatories of the “Joint Declaration of the Seventy-Seven Countries” issued at the end of the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva.
The G77 provides the means for the developing countries to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system. It actively promotes South-South cooperation for development.