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The United Nations at 70: Progress in the Pacific

© UNICEF/Matt Flynn
Photo archives from 1988: A family in Buca Village Vanua Levu “Fiji’s children are at risk because of poor nutrition. In the wake of economic crisis, rural to urban migration has disrupted traditional food systems. UNICEF involvement

SUVA, FIJI. 24 OCTOBER 2015 – 1945 was a momentous year that saw the end of World War II and the birth of the United Nations. In the 70 years that followed, the UN family has continued to grow, with the introduction of several standalone agencies, each with their own specific focus areas including, amongst others, health, children, food and agriculture, emergency response, governance, human rights and women. Many of these agencies are present and active across the Pacific and have contributed to enormous region-wide progress over the years.

All of the work carried out by the UN has a common thread running throughout; to create a better world for all its citizens. How does it do this? The UN works for you, for us, for our families, our communities and our countries by promoting human rights, championing peace, helping people in emergencies, providing humanitarian aid, fighting poverty, feeding those that are hungry, helping children receive an education, providing access to life saving healthcare, empowering young people, taking climate action, working to prevent conflict and assisting refugees, to name a few.

The 70th anniversary of the United Nations is an opportunity to reflect and look back on the UN’s history, and to take stock of its enduring achievements. Over the course of 70 years there are too many achievements to mention, but one recent example symbolises the true potential of global collaboration. 

In 2000, the UN launched an ambitious set of targets, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to tackle poverty, hunger, diseases, infant and maternal mortality, access to education, environment issues, gender equality and HIV, among other areas. 

The MDGs brought about positive progress across the Oceania region where we’ve witnessed a drop of 51 per cent in the number of pregnant women dying before or during childbirth over the past two decades. Primary school enrolment rates have jumped from 69 to 95 per cent. Progress has also been made in protecting marine areas, which helps to prevent loss of biodiversity, maintain food security and water supplies, strengthen climate resilience and provide services for human wellbeing. These are all achievements worthy of celebration and the work of many UN agencies across the Pacific helped to make these goals a reality. 

UN agencies have also been increasingly active on the humanitarian front, working together in responding to disasters. Humanitarian needs are on the rise across the Pacific where countries are acutely vulnerable to a range of natural hazards and the impacts of climate change. UN agencies are on the front line of these frequent disasters, supporting governments to respond and helping people in urgent need. 

More recently, UN agencies have also been helping to coordinate the Pacific-wide response to El Niño by supporting governments in countries such as Vanuatu to address worsening drought conditions and preparing the region for what is predicted to be an intense cyclone season ahead.

As we mark the 70th anniversary of the UN, the many UN agencies in the Pacific will celebrate through a series of activities including a community outreach event in Fiji, a first aid demonstration in Nauru, a parade of nations in Palau and UN open days in Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

And what do the next 70 years hold? Just last month the UN launched a new set of goals to build on the incredible success of the MDGs. The Global Goals for Sustainable Development (‘Global Goals’) are designed to achieve three extraordinary things in the next 15 years: end extreme poverty; fight inequality and injustice; address climate change. 

As part of this, every Pacific nation has signed up to the Global Goals, agreeing on our collective priorities for the next 15 years. Climate change, an issue all too familiar to Pacific nations, has now also been accorded the priority it deserves. The United Nations will be partnering alongside Pacific governments and communities as we work towards these new and critical goals. 

On UN Day 2015, and on behalf of all United Nations agencies across the Pacific, we thank you for your support. We look forward to working together with individuals, Governments, NGOs, civil society and the private sector towards a healthy and prosperous Pacific future for all.

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By: Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu and Lizbeth Cullity, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau . 

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About the United Nations in the Pacific:

In the Pacific region, the various agencies in the United Nations system support 15 countries to achieve national development goals, and assist governments to respond to emergencies and national security issues. 

About United Nations Day – 24 October: 

UN Day marks the anniversary of the UN Charter coming into force in 1945. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. 24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. 

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For further information, please contact:

Danielle Parry

UNOCHA ROP Public Information Officer, Suva, Fiji

Ph: +679 7771433 

Email: parryd@un.org

Skype: danielle.renee.parry

Francesca Mondello

United Nations Communication Specialist

Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa & Tokelau

Ph: (685) 23670 

Mobile: (685) 7256584

Email: francesca.mondello@one.un.org

 

 

 
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