PM Sogavare to address UN General Assembly on a range of issues that includes security, development, peace and climate change.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is set to deliver his statement at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday 22nd September. This annual gathering provides world leaders and heads of state with a platform to articulate their priorities for the upcoming year, encourage cooperation on critical issues, and, at times, address international disputes.
During last year’s UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare emphasised that Solomon Islands had faced unfair criticism since establishing diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He stated, “We have been subjected to unwarranted criticisms, misinformation, and threats that undermine our democracy and sovereignty.” Solomon Islands also faced scrutiny for its security agreement with China, which raised concerns from Australia and the US about the possibility of a Chinese military base, concerns later debunked by the government.
In addition to addressing the China issue, Prime Minister Sogavare expressed Solomon Islands’ concerns about the impacts of COVID-19 and the Ukraine conflict. He also expressed gratitude to New Zealand and Australia for their labor mobility programs, which have provided employment opportunities for thousands of Solomon Islands youths entering the job market each year. Prime Minister Sogavare also mentioned the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy in his opening statement, a strategy launched during the 77th UN General Assembly in New York.
Other matters raised by Solomon Islands included their request for an extension to graduate from Least Developed Country status in 2024. They cited the pandemic, climate change, natural hazards, and the 2021 riots as reasons for seeking this extension.
This year, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is expected to address a range of issues, including security, development, peace, and climate change during the summit. While the effectiveness of the United Nations has been a topic of debate, the benefits of attendance are clear. Nations use this platform to communicate their agendas, grievances, and calls to action to a global audience, creating a permanent record.
Furthermore, this week presents a crucial opportunity for countries that often feel overshadowed by what they see as a dominant world order to capture the attention of a larger audience. It also provides leaders, especially those from countries with diplomatic tensions, with the chance to engage in meetings on neutral ground, commonly referred to as bilaterals.
Prime Minister Sogavare is joined by his wife, Emmy Sogavare, and government officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (OPMC). In addition to his address at the UNGA, he will participate in bilateral and multilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event. Prime Minister Sogavare is expected to return to the country on September 27th.