The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reaffirmed its commitment to enhancing cooperation with the Fijian Government in recognition of Fiji’s leadership in building resilience and in seeking innovative solutions to address issues of displacement faced by communities amidst the climate crisis.
During her first visit to Fiji, the newly appointed Regional Representative United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee, Ms Louise Aubin paid a courtesy call on the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Sugar Industry and Acting Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Mr Yogesh J. Karan in Suva.
In commending Fiji’s regional and global leadership, Ms Aubin said the UNHCR is determined to strengthen collaboration with the Fijian Government in the area of climate change adaptation and resilience building. She said UNHCR is pleased with Fiji’s commitment at the global stage to advocate for issues that are aligned to the mandates of UNHCR.
Ms Aubin thanked PS Karan for the comprehensive discussions on the development of legislative and technical support to empower Fiji and the Pacific region to play a greater role in achieving the global action plan to end statelessness. She added that there was a huge potential for Fiji and UNHCR to explore new initiatives that will positively impact the lives of people in Fiji, the Pacific and the world over.
Fiji was applauded by UNHCR for its support towards the global campaign by UNHCR to eradicate statelessness. “It’s clear that Fiji has always been a friend of the campaign with its leadership role and commitment to further eradicate statelessness,” Ms Aubin elaborated.
PS Karan congratulated Ms Aubin for the new role and conveyed the Fijian Government’s support which complements the work carried out globally by UNHCR. He said that Fiji’s partnership with UNHCR is aligned with the Goverments’ priorities on the climate change agenda and that Fiji welcomes the work undertaken by UNHCR with the International Organisation for Migration, (IOM) on the Pacific Mobility Project to address the cross border dimension of climate change.
The overall aim of the project is to develop a regional framework to address cross-border displacement resulting from climate change. Consensus within the region on human-rights based, human dignity approach to internal planned relocations would provide a critical foundation for cross border relocations.
PS Karan said that Fiji also looks forward to assuming the chairmanship of the Platform on Disaster Displacement in July 2020, which will provide an opportunity for Fiji to leverage global solidarity in maintaining momentum and urgency on climate action.
Before assuming the UNHCR role, Ms Aubin held the position of the Deputy Director, Field Protection Service, Division of International Protection, UNHCR in Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The UNHCR Regional Representation in Canberra has coverage over Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Fiji, and 13 Pacific Island States.