The Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lenora Qereqeretabua, is representing Fiji at the 13th Conference of the Pacific Community (SPC) convened at SPC’s headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia, from Thursday, 26th to Friday, 27th October 2023.

The Conference is the SPC’s governing body and meets every two years at the ministerial level to provide high-level strategic directions to the SPC based on the recommendations from the SPC’s Committee of Representatives of Governments and Administrations (CRGA).

Chaired by Tuvalu with New Caledonia as the vice-chair, the 13th Conference of the Pacific Community is an important platform to discuss the progress of the implementation of the SPC Strategic Plan 2022 – 2023, update on the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent Implementation and Monitoring Plan and Review of the Regional Architecture and realigning SPC’s role in line with regional needs and priorities.

Qereqeretabua said it is an honour to represent Fiji at this Conference to contribute to discussions on important issues concerning regional development and cooperation.

Qereqeretabua further emphasized that the Conference is a timely opportunity to collaboratively address the common challenges and advance the Pacific’s commitment to regional development priorities while amplifying the Pacific’s voice on crucial issues such as climate change, sustainable development, peace and security.

It enabled extensive discussions on the need for regional efforts to improve health outcomes, water systems, agriculture, human rights, gender equality, education, cultural heritage, fisheries and energy management, amongst others.

Speaking at the side event on Gender Equality at the Conference, Hon. Qereqeretabua said that gender equality is fundamental to building a fair, just and prosperous society.

“It’s fundamental to Fiji achieving our national development aspirations in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to the Pacific as a region, fulfilling the vision set out by our Leaders in the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.

“It is encouraging to see that ‘inclusion’ and ‘gender equality’ remain front and centre of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent under the thematic area of ‘People-centred Development’ and that in the latest iteration of the draft 2050 Implementation Plan, there are key outcomes laid out that target gender equality, equity and gender-based violence,” Hon. Qereqeretabua said.

The Assistant Minister also provided an overview of the policy interventions and actions taken to promote women’s leadership and empowerment at various levels of development in Fiji.

She looks forward to delivering Fiji’s keynote address today at the Conference, which will speak to Fiji’s commitment to advance “Pacific as a Zone of Peace,” a vision for the region led by the Hon. Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.

At the heart of the discussions undertaken at the Conference are people-centred development, economic inclusivity and sustainability for a vibrant future for the Pacific people.

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