The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) based in Samoa for the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tokelau arrived on the island last Friday to discuss with the Government of Niue its Country Implementation Plan (CIP).
The UN team to Niue includes UN Resident Coordinator Dr. Simona Marinescu, Assistant Resident Representative for the UNFPA Office in Samoa Sarah Faletoese, UNDP GEF SGP Programme Management Specialist Lilomaiava Filifilia Ioseafa, UNDP Governance and Poverty Programme Analyst Taupau Joseph Mulipola, and UNRC Communications and Advocacy Aterina Samasoni.
On Monday this week, UNCT and the Niue government were able to meet and discuss the CIP co-chaired by the Secretary of Government for Niue Ms. Peleni Talagi and the UN Resident Coordinator Simona Marinescu.
BCN News was able to speak with UNRC Dr. Simona about the UN Mission here on the island.
“The main objective of this mission is to discuss with the government the biannual country implementation plan 2023-2024. The UN works on the basis of a five year framework. We have a five year cooperation framework for 2023-2027 that the government of Niue has already signed off on,” says Dr. Simona.
The CIP consultations are a crucial process to operationalise the five-year UN Pacific Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) 2023-2027 which Niue signed in support last year on 28 November 2022.
According to a UN Samoa article written by Aterina Samasoni, the main objective of the UNSDCF 2023-2027, is to improve the lives of people in the Pacific through development support organised along four key pillars including People, Planet, Prosperity, and Peace.
“To operationalise the cooperation framework in every country we have a Country Implementation plan every two years. So we start now with the 2023-2024 Country Implementation Plan.”
“We operate under the leadership of the government so we need to make sure that the government is fully on board with our priorities and we are here to share our country analysis for Niue and to also listen to the government as to where the priorities are,” says Dr. Simona.
BCN News was also able to speak with Niue’s Secretary of Government Peleni Talagi who shared how good it was to reconnect with UNCT.
“It was really good to reconnect in person with Dr. Simona and the UNDP team after three years. They – UNDP and UN agencies – have been very supportive during covid and for the different development assistance that they provide for us as well.
“We were looking at specific areas that we can both work together on going forward. I was really pleased with the discussions that we’ve had,” says Ms. Talagi.
Yesterday, a special session took place at the Scenic Matavai Conference room which was to allow the UNCT team and the Niue government to further discuss and validate the CIP for Niue.
The session was jointly led by UNRC Dr. Simona Marinescu, Secretary of Government Peleni Talagi and the Minister for Infrastructure and Finance Hon. Crossley Tatui.
The key objective for the UNSDCF 2023-2027 Outcomes and Sub Outcomes for Niue is that “all people in the Pacific, leaving no place behind, are equal and free to exercise their fundamental rights, enjoying gender equality and peace, resilient to the existential threats and living in harmony with the blue and green continent.”
In his opening remarks, Minister Tatui highlighted the significance of the UN for Niue.
“The UN Nations is a key partner of our nation building aspirations and in supporting Niue’s obligations towards fulfilling the UN SDGs 2030.”
“The UN works jointly with us to help shape our national identity, maintain national security and stability, and build our country’s profile aiming to serve in identified and agreed areas of interest to benefit the people of Niue,” says Hon. Tatui.
Minister Tatui was pleased to report that Niue is already working towards aligning its regional and international declarations and conventions Niue co-signed to such as the FAO Framework to the revised National Development Plan 2021-2026, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy.
Minister Tatui also spoke of how alarming Niue’s economic indicators are showing.
“While we don’t have poverty, unemployment, or violent crime, our economic indicators are knowingly alarming. The facts tell us that we must act now with the appropriate reforms. Which coincides with UN reforms and the FAO multi-country programming framework 2023-2027.”
“It’s important we must learn the lessons and reorganise, plan and manage our economy better, care for our people and country, and value our relationship with development partners. We know that the way we organise, plan and manage our economy cannot be sustained which is why we need whole government reforms. We need unity and commitment at all levels of society,” says Minister Tatui.
Niue is not a member state of the United Nations, however Minister Tatui has emphasised Niue wanting to become a member nation sooner rather than later.
Dr. Simona highlighted the fact that the UN 2030 Agenda is a universally-implemented agenda that does not distinguish amongst people.
“If they belong to member states or non member states of the UN, all people are supposed to be benefitting from the work the UN does,” says Dr. Simona.
The final day of consultations with key Niue partners and stakeholders will take place tomorrow before the UN team departs the island on Friday.