The Pacific Dialogue on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Pacific Sub-Regional Office, with technical expertise from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Beyond 2014 Secretariat in New York (USA). The three-day dialogue is attended by representatives of nine countries including the Tonga Minister for Health Honourable Dr Saia Piukala and the Cook Islands Speaker of Parliament, Honourable Niki Rattle, national statisticians and officials of the foreign affairs ministries.
UNFPA Pacific Sub-Regional Office Director and Representative Dr Laurent Zessler reminded the gathering of ‘catalytic opportunities’ which the Pacific islands bloc have used successfully while establishing a reputation for its unified approach at both regional and international level.
“The UNFPA wants to ensure that it is supporting you as best as it can and this is the first objective of bringing you here; the UNFPA appreciates that you decided to join us for this dialogue,” Dr Zessler said.
“The inter-governmental processes of the SDGs is critical and we felt that organizing the dialogue now will give you time; most of our countries are also stretched in human resources and time.”
The SDGs-related targets and monitoring indicators are currently being defined; United Nations member states are presently considering their national priorities and its relationship to the global framework.
A team from UNFPA headquarters (New York, USA) Post-2015 Branch briefed dialogue partners on the various aspects of the SDGs processes, at the global level.
Pacific delegations to the 2013 (September) Asia Pacific Population Conference (APPC) in Bangkok (Thailand) spoke with one voice based on the Moana Declaration, a declaration endorsed by Pacific parliamentarians a month earlier; the same unified approach was evident at the 47th Commission on Population and Development in New York a year later.
The outcome statement of the Third International Conference of Small Island Developing Countries (SIDs) in 2014 entitled the SAMOA (SIDs Accelerated Modalities of Action) Pathway prioritizes sexual health and reproductive rights.
“The Pacific countries’ are progressive in their decision-making in view of comprehensive sexuality education and/or their determination to tackle gender-based violence,” Dr Zessler said.
“This is already very encouraging as we facilitate country preparation and engagement for a Pacific voice that is people-based, that ensures indicators which is enabling for ICPD values in the SDGs.”