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To strike a balance between conservation and development the Fijian Government has developed a far reaching plan for the sustainable management and development of forests in Fiji’s 5 and 20years National Development Plan. This commits Fiji to ending deforestation, restoring degraded forests and substantially increasing afforestation. The overall approach Fiji has taken is to one that transforms conservation into development. We have moved away from either-or to an approach where the more you protect and expand forest cover, the more you achieve economic development. This road is not easy. 
I am deeply honoured and humbled to receive the 2019 Sustainable Development Leadership Award. This is more than a win for me, or a win for Fiji –– it is a win for small and developing states around the globe. It shows that, when it comes to impacting the world, it is not the size of your country that matters –– but the size of your voice. And after Fiji’s COP23 Presidency, it’s clear that the once-ignored voice of the climate-vulnerable populations is being projected louder than ever. For a country like ours, with our population of less than a million, to be recognised in this way by TERI –– based in your nation of over 1.3 billion –– is proof that this voice is being heard. 
The Ministry of Health statistics currently reveal that almost One in every Three Fijians are being diagnosed with diabetes which is equivalent to 30% of the population; And that about three lower limb amputations are conducted every day as a result of uncontrolled infection due to poorly controlled diabetes. This alarming rate raises serious concerns with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and to Government which has spent about $406 million annually on the treatment of Non-Communicable Diseases and related ailments in recent years.

FRU’s newfound representation at the World Rugby Council will provide us with great insight, and give Fiji a voice at this forum for the first time. Already, our CEO John O’Connor has been asked to join the Professional Games Committee of World Rugby. This is a milestone achievement that will help take Fijian rugby to the next level, and again, I thank the board and management for their diligence in crossing the goal line.  
The principles upon which UNCAT is based are fundamental to a free society. Fiji, under our Prime Minister, values these principles and we have not wavered in our commitment to ensuring that these constitutionally guaranteed rights and protections are practically implemented to better the lives of all Fijians.
The core of UNCAT is to support States in their efforts to curb and prevent torture and other ill-treatment. Here in Fiji, joining on to the treaty was a natural extension of progress we’ve made on our own in recent years.  
 And as we’ve moved forward, the Chinese-Fijian community has been an invaluable partner in our nation’s development. Over the course of 165 years your community has truly proven to be an integral part of our society.
As leaders in your ministries, you know that smart organisations cannot function in silos. Good governance is a team sport. It isn’t golf or singles tennis, it’s rugby. And you don’t win the Hamilton Sevens by competing as an individual, even if you’ve got the legs of Alasio Naduva. You do it by working together and winning together, as a team. 
Today over 20 local youth entrepreneurs from various backgrounds, have gathered to pioneer discussions aimed at realizing the objectives of the event which is conveyed in the theme - ‘The Hunt for SDG-based Inclusive Innovative Solutions’.
Today, you’re taking a great step forward for your community. One that will power the lives of your people for generations; bringing a higher standard of living for your people today, and new expectations for your young people for what their community can achieve.
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