Tokelau and UN Consultations to inform the new UN Pacific StrategyAug 30, 2016
Senior public servants of Tokelau have deliberated in a participatory forum and have recommended for the UN to focus development assistance on its five key thematic and priority areas - Good Governance and Partnerships; Infrastructure Development; Human Development; Sustainability; and, Resilience against Climate Change.
The consensus was reached at the end of a half-day consultation, on 29 August, 2016, between the Government of Tokelau and United Nations Agencies in the Pacific who met to discuss and reflect their development priorities in the new UN Pacific Strategy 2018 – 2022.
The aim of the consultation was to engage government, civil society and key stakeholders from various sectors of the Tokelau society in a participatory process to identify priority issues, build linkages and foster a sense of ownership of the UN Pacific Strategy 2018-2022.
The UN Pacific Strategy 2018-2022 is being developed and closely aligned with the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and presents an opportunity for the UN to avail knowledge and technical expertise to support the implementation of the SDGs. The 2030 Agenda commits to eradicate poverty, address inequalities, end discrimination, and to leave no one behind, amongst its 17 Goals.
Tokelau is committed to aligning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to its national priorities, however with limited financial and human resources the focus will be on the most relevant SDGs.
UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Ms. Lizbeth Cullity welcomed the Tokelau delegation and the One UN family to the consultation and stressed the importance of putting forward realistic plans and pragmatic suggestions considering the unique challenges facing small atolls.
“The UN system brought approximately US2 million to Tokelau over the last five years with the main challenges being resource mobilization, high transaction costs, human and institutional capacity, natural disasters and limited availability of baseline data and analyses”. She said, “donors and funds can always be found if there are good proposals which are supported by statistics, baselines and clear and credible objectives.” She further added that “It is very important for the UN Agency representatives to experience the reality of Tokelau and see the actual life on atolls, therefore a joint UN mission must be planned for the near future.”
The General Manager of the Office of the Tokelau Council, Mr. Jovilisi Suveinakama expressed appreciation to the UN and the Government of Samoa for the opportunity to have the consultation, and expressed hope that the consultation “would not be about programs that bring people together, but it would be people who bring programs together” he stipulated the need to establish strong working relationships between UN agencies and Tokelau representatives and thanked the UN family for the past work in Tokelau.
With regard to the future, he said that “Tokelau’s vision is to build healthy communities with opportunities for all and said that through this consultation the UN Strategic plan will be enriched with Tokelau’s engagement. He expressed hope that the future of the Pacific will be based on conscious decisions made by the countries.”
The UN Pacific Strategy will work to establish a Tokelau Country Strategy that aligns with priorities outlined in Tokelau’s National Development Framework 2016-2020 and support the implementation of the SDGs. UN support has largely been provided through technical assistance, mentorship and training to build capacity of people, systems, and institutions.
The consultation recognised that increased integration of climate change and disaster risk management-related goals with economic and social development goals will ensure these initiatives will reach vulnerable groups.
Participants at the consultation called for a strengthened Delivering-as-One (DaO) approach from the United Nations agencies and underlined the importance of mobilizing the resources needed to support the long term vision of, Healthy and Active Communities with opportunities for all.
In close collaboration with the Office of the Council, a joint UN mission to Tokelau later this year with CROP agencies is desirable. Tokelau General Manager and Taupulega will confirm the dates for the mission and inform the UN.
Tokelau is the ninth Pacific island to complete its national consultations to discuss the new UN Pacific Strategy 2018 - 2022. Samoa completed its national consultations in June.