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2020 Commonwealth Message

March 9, 2020       State House.

Celebrating a Connected Commonwealth

The Honourable Prime Minister, Rear Admiral (Ret’d) JV Bainimarama; 

The Honourable Speaker of Parliament, His Excellency Ratu Epeli Nailatikau;

The Honourable Cabinet Ministers;

The Honourable Members of Parliament;

Excellencies – Heads of Missions/Ambassadors/High Commissioners;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Heads of Religious/Faith Organisations;

Heads/Chief Executive Officers of International/Regional Non-Government Organisations; and

Distinguished Guests. 

Fellow Citizens of Fiji, 

Ni sa Bula Vinaka, Namaste, Ni Hao, Noaia ‘e Mauri and a very good morning to you all.

We gather today to mark International Commonwealth Day. It is a celebration of our membership in one of the World’s oldest organisations to which fifty-four (54) nations belong. 

The Commonwealth population collectively represents one third of all humanity.  So indelibly, we are drawn together by common values and our commitment to cooperation in the promotion of democracy, good governance, the rule of law, human rights and the preservation of global peace and security. This year we celebrate the theme, “Delivering a Common Future”. 

It is a timely reminder of our duty and obligation to deliver a common sustainable future for our peoples and our planet.

As a nation, Fiji acknowledges the principles and the values of the Commonwealth and the mutual bond we share with other member states. It is a bond that is cemented by our historical ties with Britain, and is the foundation upon which our diplomatic, aid and trade relations are built. 

This shared history and bond of all member states is both the legacy and the strength of the Commonwealth. This year’s celebration is particularly significant as we reflect on 50 years as an Independent nation state. The Commonwealth has journeyed with us and is an important part of our history.

Today, the Commonwealth continues to support Fiji’s efforts on priorities important to Fiji; through the wealth of expertise and knowledge available within its shared historical, legal and administrative traditions.  

Through the Commonwealth Blue Charter the Commonwealth is working with member states to ensure that it effectively responds to the climate change crisis and oceans and to advance the interests of Small Island Developing States.

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, new and emerging threats have also increased and have become much more challenging. Climate change, world hunger, scarcity of resources, the spread of highly infectious diseases is now an everyday concern. These are issues which can be resolved through international cooperation and collective action. 

This year marks the beginning of the decade of progress development and implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda. It also marks the decade of Oceans sustainable development. 

Fiji has played a leading role in advocating for the effective implementation of the sustainable development goals in particular for climate change and oceans. We will continue to lead the way to support and strengthen the mechanism to garner Commonwealth solidarity and cooperation in these areas. 

In June, the Commonwealth Leaders will gather in Kigali, Rwanda for the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).  The Leaders' collective vision has evolved from “Towards a Common Future” at the 2018 CHOGM in London, to a 2020 CHOGM action oriented theme of “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming”. 

From Fiji’s perspective, in order to deliver a common future, we all – nations and individuals alike – must play our part. At a time when multilateralism is under threat, the Commonwealth family must stand together and connected to meet the challenges of our time.  We must resolve to deliver a common future; with renewed determination to leave this world better than we found it.

Honourable Members, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, as we celebrate and commemorate the importance of the Commonwealth, let us also give thanks to Almighty God for the selfless and unparalleled service to us all, of over seven decades of the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

May Almighty God continue to bless Her Majesty, The Commonwealth Group of Nations and our beloved Fiji.

Thank you.