Press Release: The 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session begins with the launch of the “Decade of Action” and Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the UN
23rd September 2020
Since 1998, the Prime Minister of Samoa Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi has addressed the United Nations General Assembly at the annual gathering of world leaders at UN Headquarters, New York, U.S.A. This year, the General Debate of the General Assembly, traditionally the most high-profile UN event of its annual calendar will be held virtually for the first time in the organizations 75 year history. While the Covid-19 pandemic will prevent world leaders from meeting in New York, the Prime Minister of Samoa will still be engaging virtually to address a world audience on issues of importance to Samoa.
The 75th UN General Assembly this year opened with two high level events for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Moment) and the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the UN. The Prime Minister spoke at both events through video recording and will also address the General Assembly on 26th September 2020.
Samoa was amongst twenty countries selected to participate in the inaugural SDG Moment High Level event held on Friday 18th September. The meeting also launched the “Decade of Action” to deliver the multilaterally agreed 17 SDGs by 2030. The Decade of Action calls for accelerated progress in achieving the world’s biggest challenges such as poverty, hunger, inequalities and climate change. In his statement, the Prime Minister highlighted that despite progress made in implementing the SDGs, Samoa continues to face persistent challenges with the biggest threat being its increased vulnerability to external shocks, including climate change, disasters and emerging health crises such as the 2019 Measles Epidemic in Samoa and the ongoing COVID-19 situation. “Decisive leadership and strengthening our whole of society approach including through job creation, well-funded education and protection to women and girls” were some of the key actions highlighted by the Prime Minister for accelerating SDG implementation.
United Nations 75th anniversary
The High Level Event to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations was also held virtually on Monday 21 September 2020 in New York. The Prime Minister in his statement highlighted the vital role of the United Nations in Samoa’s journey as a nation, graduating from its UN trust territory status to become the first Pacific island nation to gain independence 58 years ago. Joining the UN was reaffirmation of Samoa’s faith and commitment to the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter. The Prime Minister touched on some of Samoa’s contributions to the organization as a dependable and dedicated member, “providing Pacific and SIDS specific solutions and experiences to multilateral joint effort to guarantee human rights, achieve peace and security, and effectively pursue sustainable development”. He concluded by urging all UN member states to capitalize on our “unity in diversity” and work as nations united for the common good of mankind.
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The SDG Moment is an annual event held in September during every UN high-level week between now and 2030. It aims to provide a snapshot of progress made including challenges as well as solutions from Member States and stakeholders towards the implementation of the SDGs by 2030. Every year, approximately 20 Heads of State and Government are expected to participate. The Prime Minister’s recorded statement for the SDG Moment Event 2020 can be viewed on https://rebrand.ly/Samoa-PrimeMinister-SDGMoment. A copy of the statement can be viewed here. The entire SDG Moment Event can be viewed on http://webtv.un.org/watch/sdg-moment-2020/6192445650001/.
Samoa joined the UN in 1976, opened the UN multi-country office in 1979 and currently hosts fifteen (15) offices or representatives of the UN system based in Samoa. For 3 days in September 2014, Samoa became the home of the UN when it hosted the SIDS Conference on behalf of the Pacific region. The Prime Minister’s recorded statement for the High Level Event to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN can be viewed on https://rebrand.ly/Samoa-PrimeMinister-UnitedNations75Anniversary. A copy of the statement can be viewed here. The entire High Level Event to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the UN can be viewed on http://webtv.un.org/.