Pacific Islands Forum Statement on the 75th Commemoration of the Signing of the Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 2020.
Delivered by H.E. Mr Samuelu Laloniu, Pacific Islands Forum Chair and Permanent Representative of Tuvalu.
On this important anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum with presence here at the United Nations, namely; Australia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and my own country, Tuvalu.
We today reaffirm our commitment to the Charter of the United Nations as the foundation of collective action, multilateralism and an international rules-based order which gives us, as sovereign equals, a voice at the United Nations. We do so in recognition of the many new and longstanding challenges the world continues to face since the signing of the Charter in San Francisco on 26 June, 1945.
These challenges include long-term goals of nuclear non-proliferation, poverty eradication, conflict prevention and social and economic development but also an array of modern threats, cyber threats, ‘infodemics’, a new wave of populism, the Covid-19 pandemic and the global, existential threat of climate change.
Imagine, where would we be without the Charter of the United Nations?
The members of the Pacific Islands Forum affirm that the universal principles expressed within the Charter are up to the task of guiding us through these troubled times. However, the question remains; how can we better live up to the Charter in order to maintain international peace and security, promote social progress and better standards of life, strengthen international law and protect human rights?
The answer must be to renew our commitment to multilateralism, to evolve and innovate whilst remaining true to the ideals that the Charter represents. As the ocean navigator follows a fixed constellation through uncharted and stormy seas, we must remain steadfast in order to reach our destination. The commitment to a common good encapsulated in the words “We the peoples of the United Nations” must never be diminished in any way, shape or form but rather be further empowered and strengthened for the benefit of all.
In real terms, this means strengthening regional and global treaties and commitments, promoting inclusivity of women and girls, youth, persons with disabilities, and reaching out to the disenfranchised and disillusioned. It means finding innovative solutions to our shared problems through cooperation and coordination. It means recognising our interconnectedness and protecting the most vulnerable among us. It means self-reflection on our short-comings and humility in the face of past errors.
We, the peoples of the Blue Continent are inextricably linked with humanity as a whole. As custodians of the world’s largest natural carbon sink, most extensive coral reefs and fisheries which supply 20% of global protein, our future is the world’s future.
In the Pacific, both climate and ocean are getting warmer. Our sea levels are rising at double the global average and our coral is dying. Disasters, in particular cyclones, flooding and droughts have increased in intensity and costs. Our vulnerabilities have been further exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which threatens Pacific economies, food security and remittances, demonstrating the multi-layered nature of the challenges our region faces.
We remain alarmed that despite three decades of UNFCCC negotiations, the Paris Agreement and SDG 13, climate change continues unabated, the climate crisis facing our Pacific Island nations poses the single biggest threat to the security of our region. Therefore, our collective commitment to “leave no one behind” must be reaffirmed and ambitious and concrete climate action must continue in the spirit of multilateralism.
With this in mind, the members of the Pacific Islands Forum reaffirm our commitment to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, the SAMOA Pathway, Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Sendai Framework and the Paris Agreement, recognising the interlinked role these commitments play in building a resilient region of peace, security, social inclusion and prosperity.
The members of the Pacific Islands Forum support the Secretary-General’s reform efforts to make a more responsive and effective United Nations system which is capable of dealing with today’s complex challenges. We encourage this reform at the grassroots level through UN outreach programmes, inclusivity measures and promoting access to green and blue technology.
We encourage it at national and regional levels, by promoting better data aggregation, by working to meet or exceed Nationally Determined Contributions to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and by supporting a repositioned UN development system which delivers the greatest possible impact in the Pacific, including through the establishment of a North Pacific MCO.
And, we must encourage it at the highest levels including through advocating for the creation of a Special Adviser on climate change and security and promoting Security Council reform, especially with regard to the use of the veto.
This complex and urgent work requires a robust, rules-based international order with the United Nations at its heart. The Charter of the United Nations provides us a framework through which to pursue our goals together as one. Let us draw inspiration from our founding document as we face the future more determined than ever to advance towards peace and security, human rights, and development.
We wish you all a very happy Charter Day.