Opening Remarks by Lizbeth Cullity, UN RC at the UNESCAP National Workshop on Voluntary National Reviews

Oct 31, 2017

Honourable Ministers,


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Talofa Lava.

It is an honour and a privilege for me to welcome you all to the ‘UNESCAP National Workshop on Voluntary National Reviews.’

The Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development which was recently endorsed by the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, encourages member states to participate in the Voluntary National Reviews to the UN High-level Political Forum. The importance of this report was highly stressed, as it the basis for tracking global progress against the Sustainable Development Goals.  Just last year, Samoa was one of the first countries in the world to have submitted their Voluntary National Review to the 2016 session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Samoa was also the first and only Small Island Developing State to take the lead in this reporting process.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate Samoa in taking this first step in the SIDS region, and paving the way for all Small Island States to follow. We encourage all Pacific countries present here today to join Samoa in taking that step; the sooner the better! Making the commitment to report a Voluntary National Review can help countries analyse their current status and plan what needs to be done moving forward. Being proactive in this way can help you establish a path. This meeting today is an opportunity for us to come together as the Pacific region and learn from peer experiences.

Samoa has made great strides toward achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. They have mapped their national strategy for development against the SDGs, they have set up a cross-governmental SDG taskforce, and they have begun to develop a centralized database to collect all relevant data relating to the SDGs. UNDP is proud to have been able to support this process and we look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with the Government of Samoa.

The United Nations is committed to working in partnership with Pacific Island Countries and Territories. We are proud to announce that our new strategic framework, the United Nations Pacific Strategy (UNPS) will support the 14 PICT governments and peoples to advance a localized response to the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This response is tailored to each country’s national priorities and that is of greatest importance. It also responds to the Pacific Leaders’ call to the United Nations system to align its work programmes and operations to support internationally agreed outcomes, in particular, the SAMOA Pathway.

In closing, I would like to set the tone of this workshop by reminding everyone of the Sustainable Development Goals commitment to “Leave no one behind”. I hope that this gathering will continue to foster a true sense of inclusivity amongst us so that we may continue to work together for the betterment of the Pacific. 

Thank you and fa’afetai lava.


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