Programme Strengthens SDG Partnership


The first-ever familiarisation visit to Fiji by non-resident Ambassadors and High Commissioners has become a gateway to solicit stronger global partnership for Fiji’s commitment in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These permanent representatives, who are accredited to Fiji and based in Canberra and Wellington, were part of a three-day program designed with the theme of “Nurturing Global Partnerships for Sustainable Development.”

The 17 participating envoys were given a comprehensive overview of Fiji’s national development priorities and plans.

The program presented the visiting envoys with the first-ever opportunity to receive a comprehensive briefing on Fiji’s economic, trade and investment policies, financial and regulatory policy, tourism, agriculture, fisheries and forestry, to name a few.

A full day “Talanoa” session at the Grand Pacific Hotel with Permanent Secretaries and senior Government officials enabled the Heads of Missions to better understand the scope of bilateral cooperation that Fiji offers and explore avenues for strengthened relations.

The second day of the program provided the envoys with the opportunity to interact personally with a Fijian community, Daku village in Tailevu that is adversely impacted by climate change.

They also contributed to Fiji’s mitigation efforts and resilience capability by planting trees at the Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve as part of Fiji’s 4-Million trees in 4 Years initiative.

A visit to the Koronivia Research Station and Navuso Agriculture Technical Institute demonstrated Fiji’s interest for collaboration in research and development of Fiji’s agricultural and vocational training institutes.    Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security, Inia Seruiratu, speaking during an official dinner, highlighted the importance of this visit.

“As comprehensive and challenging as the SDG 2030 are for all of our nations, there is an equal assurance we feel in the realisation that we have close allies, friends and indeed partners, who are able and willing to assist us achieve those goals. The strong presence of our Resident Missions and the Diplomatic Corp in Suva, and of course the visit this week by non-resident Heads of Missions based in Canberra and Wellington, is an expression of faith in the cooperative environment that the Fijian Government has been determined to provide and nurture,” Minister Seruiratu said.

At the conclusion of the programme, the visiting envoys expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Fijian Government for a well delivered program targeted towards the realisation of the SDGs through global partnership.

Ambassador Karim Medrek of Morocco, was one of the 17 envoys who participated in the familiarisation visit programme. He is based in Canberra and has spent over 30 years in the diplomatic service, having also served at their United Nations Mission in New York.

Ambassador Medrek described Fiji’s First Familiarisation program as informative, interactive and imperative for the greater collaboration. He reiterated that Fiji and Morocco co-operation goes beyond partnership in tackling climate change as a key feature connecting both countries was their contribution to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Furthermore, Ambassador Medrek said that the familiarisation visit has opened potential to explore partnership with Fiji in tourism and solar energy given that Morocco has the largest solar plants in the world. Efforts will also be made to explore cooperation in agriculture given that Morocco is one of the largest fertiliser producers in the world. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Non-Resident Ambassador Saleh Alsuwaidi said the program helped showcase Fiji’s development priority areas.

“It is an honour to be part of Fiji’s efforts in addressing climate change. We are with you and UAE stands to support our friends here in Fiji and the Pacific. We are really happy and proud to say that 192 countries have confirmed participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai. We are also happy that Fiji and Pacific countries will have a pavilion at the Expo 2020,” Ambassador Alsuwaidi elaborated.

The Austrian Ambassador accredited to Fiji from Canberra, Bernhard Zimburg said the visit will pave the way for enhanced Austria-Fiji cooperation in areas of climate change mitigation, agriculture and trade. The familiarisation programme was held from 20 - 22 August, with the first two days spent in Suva and the third day in Nadi.