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Commonwealth Day Message 2017

February 24, 2017       State House, Suva

'A peace-building Commonwealth’, the theme of Commonwealth Day 2017, is an apt reminder that all Fijians have a role to play in securing a just and secure future for all generations.

We have occupied a proud place in the Commonwealth of Nations since our independence in 1970, and we find strength in our diversity of cultures even in the most trying of times.

This is also a day to remind us that the Commonwealth has changed. Where it once seemed to be a legacy of our colonial past, it is now an important and robust actor in the socio-economic and political development of its members.

We certainly intend to work to our strengths in being peace-builders in this great Commonwealth of Nations.

We are already peace-builders in more ways than one. We have served with distinction as peacekeepers under the United Nations in the Middle East since 1978, and in other regions in later years.

We have advocated for the rights of small island states at the United Nations and other international forums.

We can bank on the support of Commonwealth nations for the leadership of the 23rd Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) by our Honourable Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama next November in Bonn, Germany.

We can also look forward to Commonwealth support during the United Nations Oceans Conference in June, which we are proud to co-host with the Government of Sweden.

Peace, in every tangible way, must be built by decisive leadership. Commonwealth Day is a day to remind us as well that this decisive leadership needs to happen at all levels of society, in order for us to make lasting, sustainable and just change in our beloved Fiji.

I wish you all a happy and blessed Commonwealth Day.