Construction of UN House will bolster Fiji’s image as hub of the Pacific – Minister Vosarogo

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The construction of a United Nations House or permanent office in Fiji will bolster our image as the hub of the South Pacific.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo made these remarks whilst receiving a delegation led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Fiji Sanaka Samarasinha.

During the meeting Samarasinha revealed that the United Nations Pacific operations are keen on working with the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources to set up a permanent United Nations office or UN House in Fiji.

“We have around 18 UN agencies operating in Fiji in 12 different locations and there have been ongoing talks between the UN and the Fiji Government to set up a permanent office in Suva,” said Samarasinha.

“We have also discussed this with the Prime Minister who is committed to this initiative. We have around 700 staff currently working for the UN in Fiji and they are spread within the 18 agencies and even in government Ministries such as Agriculture. The idea is, once we have this UN House built, all of these offices and personnel will be under the same roof,” he added.

Samarasinha revealed that 22 UN agencies have signed the agreement to construct a UN house in Fiji.

Samarasinha and his team approached the Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources to assist with the identification of suitable state land which they can lease for this purpose. They also discussed specific UN standard requirements which need to be adhered to such as security, location and space.

Minister Vosarogo said that the Ministry is keen on assisting the UN as this was an important development and that there are advantages of hosting the United Nations such as an increase in foreign exchange earnings, liquidity in the market, and representational presence for many countries.

“This is a long-term investment which is good for Fiji. This means creating new employment opportunities for our people amongst other things. The Prime Minister is keen on bringing back Fiji’s image as the hub of the South Pacific and the construction of this UN House in Fiji will help us reinforce that image,” said Minister Vosarogo.

The UN has been present in Fiji since 1984, with 18 agencies implementing programmes: FAO, IFAD, ILO, IOM, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNCDF, UNDP, UNESCAP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, UNISDR, UNOCHA, UN Women, WHO and WMO.

SOURCE: FIJI GOVT/PACNEWS