Prior to the Hon. Prime Minister Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva’s delivering of Tonga’s Country Statement at the General Assembly on the morning of 24 September, 2016, Tonga’s delegation were engaged in various high-level interventions, meetings, side events, and hosted functions, from 19 -23 September, 2016.
From 19-20 September, the Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Saia Piukala, represented the Prime Minister at high-level events, to address issues on water, oceans management, strengthening security issues, health projects and the celebration of 15 years of the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), including a High-Level Event on the 10 x 20 Initiative on MPAs. These events were hosted by the Governments of the Russian Federation, New Zealand, UNOHRLLS, Cuba and Italy.
Furthermore, the Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism, Hon. Semisi Sika represented the Prime Minister at the ‘Washoku’ event, High-Level Global Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Dialogue for SIDS, the UN-SIDS X Parley 2016 Call to Action for the Oceans High-Level Event; the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change (CANCC) and the AOSIS Ministerial Meeting. These events were hosted by the Governments of Japan, Maldives and Italy, Tuvalu and Kazakhstan and the Chair of the Alliance of Small States (AOSIS).
As Head of the Delegation, the Prime Minister participated at the following Leaders’ Summit, namely the 15th Commonwealth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (CFAMM), the Group of 77 and China’s 40th Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs, and UN Forum of Small States (FOSS) meetings.
On the margins of these high-level meetings, the Hon. Prime Minister held bilateral dialogues to advance external interests with the Governments of Switzerland, Georgia, Sweden, Japan, on areas of mutual cooperation and future development assistance.
Similar bilateral meetings were held with Civil Societies Organizations such as the Christian Mission of the UN, the Federation of Peace and Love, Coalition of West Papua, to bridge areas of further engagements for the Kingdom of Tonga, in pursuit of peace, justice and international sustainable development.
On the 23 September, the Prime Minister met with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon at the UNSG’s Special Meeting with PIF Leaders Meeting, of which the Prime Minister of Tonga recorded a video message of goodwill to the Secretary General’s on his last tenure at the UN.
On the same day, the Prime Minister also had an opportunity to congratulate Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Peter Thompson, on his appointment as the President of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, and the first PGA selected from a Pacific Island to undertake such a responsibility.
Throughout the week, the Prime Minister and delegation attended hosted functions to build on partnership, network and potential investment with counterparts from the Governments of Japan, Cuba, Malta, Timor Leste, UAE, India and the Maldives.
The Tongan delegation also received special invitations to attend the commemoration of the 41st Anniversary of Independence of Papua New Guinea, the Launch of a Book by the Forum of Small States to mark the 50th Anniversary of Singapore and the UN.