UN Joint Presence launched in Palau
KOROR, December 4, 2008— In a move to strengthen its operational presence in the North Pacific, the UN has launched a Joint Presence office in Palau. The launch comes as a sign of strengthened partnership and renewed commitment by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). These three agencies have come together to deliver as one, in response to the request of the Government of Palau to the UN Secretary General.
The Presence was launched at an event attended by senior Government officials, Diplomats, civil society representatives and UN officials. During his launch statement H.E. Hon. Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr, President of the Republic of Palau said "today three United Nations agencies are physically represented in Palau and this launch is a tribute to the commitment of the United Nations to play a greater and more significant role in the North Pacific."
Palau became the 185th member state of the United Nations in December 1994 after regaining its sovereignty and independence in October of the same year. It was also the last country to obtain independence and exit the Trusteeship Council of the UN established after World War II and was the longest governed territory under UN supervision of any country in the world.
Minister of State, Hon Temmy Shumull, said after almost fifteen years later today's ceremony has a particular significance for Palau as a democratic country nurtured by the UN system.
UNDP Resident Representative a.i., Mr. Toily Kurbanov said the Joint Presence in Palau represents an exciting collaboration among UN agencies and is the beginning of a renewed and invigorating partnership between the Government of Palau and the United Nations towards the achievement of national development objectives and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
Through the Joint Presence, UNDP will work closely with UNICEF and UNFPA to collaborate in joint programming initiatives that will assist the Government in encouraging economic growth and attainment of MDGs, strengthening institutions of democratic governance, promoting gender equality and empower women.
"The Millennium Development Goals constitute a promise by the world leaders to find solutions to the challenges that burden humanity. The United Nations through the Joint Presence is committed to working hand in hand with Palau to find home-grown solutions for the burdens that challenge the livelihood and wellbeing of Palauan men, women, young people and children. The mission of UNFPA is to ensure that everybody counts when it comes to the right to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity," said Mr Najib Assifi, Director Pacific Sub-Regional Office and UNFPA Representative.
"I applaud the Government of Palau for the progress shown in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and achievements towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Palau is a good role model in development. We in the UN believe the integrity of data is foundational to good planning at the national and sub-national levels and we will work closely with partners to support the Government to carefully monitor and report on progress," said Dr Isiye Ndombi, UNICEF Representative.
The Government was also encouraged to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol as the two Optional Protocols of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The Government was also encouraged to consider ratifying the ILO Convention Number 182 which concerns the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour as well as the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
Two new reports titled The Millennium Development Goals: Initial Status Report by UNDP; and A Situation Analysis of Children, Youth and Women by UNICEF was launched at the event. Both reports serve as policy informing tools that can guide the Government to put in place appropriate strategies and measures for national development.
The Joint Presence and harmonized programmes of the three agencies are a result of extensive national consultations which began in 2006 in response to operational needs by the Government of Palau. The new office in Koror will be headed by the Country Development Manager, Ms Sharon Sakuma. Joint Presence launches have taken place this year in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.