GOVERNMENT OF TONGA
(22th September, 2023)
“Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku delivers the National Statement for the Kingdom of Tonga before the United Nations General Assembly at its 78th Session during the United Nations General Debate”
New York, USA:-The Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, received a number of accolades after a remarkable statement he made in his address of the United Nations General Assembly during its
78th session, at the General Debate held in the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, 22nd September, 2023.
The theme for this session focused on “rebuilding trust”, “reigniting global solidarity” in view of “accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress and sustainability for all”.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku highlighted that, “Without trust, or worse, its erosion, our joint endeavor to foster peace, security, and sustainable development is rendered futile.”, and “it is therefore our duty to rebuild that trust upon which the United Nations was founded. It will take more than DIALOGUE. It calls for concrete actions that demonstrate our commitment to shared values.”
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly
In his speech, he placed emphasis, among others, on Peace and Security, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Climate Change, Financing for Development, Disaster Risk Reduction, Oceans and Marine Biodiversity, Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Multidimensional Vulnerability Index, and Renewable Energy.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, Prime Minister of Tonga
He made clear that the “challenge at hand is to prevent the SDGs from being relegated to another unattainable goal”. The SDG Progress Report, which he cited, confirms that over 50% of the SDG targets are considered “weak and unattainable”, and 30% of which are poverty, hunger and climate targets that are either stalled or reversed.
On Financing for Development, Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku mentioned Tonga’s support for a review of the International Financial architecture to ensure it is fit for purpose. This is by way of allowing Tonga and other SIDS greater access to concessional finance to support development endeavours, while strengthen our resilience against external shocks.
Again, and have done so by his predecessors, along with other leaders in the Pacific, for decades now, declared Climate Change as an existential threat, which has become more of an “existential menace to Tonga and the Pacific”. He continued advocating to keep emissions below 1.5 degrees which he believes is achievable, and can be done, but the question is “Do we have the will?”.
He further mentioned that, “here and there we get glimpses of hope”, and called for the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, while reiterating Tonga’s full support, as champion on climate financing for the Pacific, the formation of a Pacific Fund to offer direct assistance to Pacific SIDS.
Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku praised the great achievements in the adoption of the General Assembly resolution on the call for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice in relation to climate change, and the Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement).
He called for the adoption of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) which he hopes that it will not be another academic exercise, but rather one that will capture the special circumstances and vulnerabilities of Tonga and SIDS.
In closing, he offered best wishes and blessings, “God bless you and God bless the United Nations”.
A full copy of Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku’s national statement before the United Nations General Assembly for the 78th session is enclosed.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku was accompanied by Hon. Fekitamoeloa ‘Utoikamanu, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minster for Tourism, Members of Parliament – Lord Tu’ilakepa and Hon. Sione Vaea Taione, Chief Secretary and Secretary to Cabinet – Mr. Paula Pouvalu Ma’u, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Tonga to the United Nations – H.E. Mr. Viliami Va’inga Tone and officials from capital and the Permanent Mission of Tonga to the United Nations.