UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK (POPIN)
UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-09: Statement of Niue, H.E. Mr. Sani Lakatani

ISO: NIU

 

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 AS WRITTEN





 SPEECH AT THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON

 POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (ICPD), CAIRO

 BY HON SANI ELIA LAKATANI

 (Head of Niue Delegation)

 FRIDAY, 9 SEPTEMBER 1994





 Mr President, Excellencies, Distinguish Heads of Delegations,

 Representatives of Non-Government Organisations, UNFPA

 Secretariat, ICPD Organising Committee,

 Ladies and Gentlemen.



 It is indeed a privilege to be part of this world forum, the

International Conference on Population and Development, bringing

together and putting together a collection of global views and concerns

for the betterment of the human race. I and my delegation associate

ourselves with the previous speakers in thanking our host country,

Egypt, for providing the venue and committing resources for a successful

conference.



 My delegation comes from a tiny Pacific Island State, Niue believed to

be the largest high coral island in the world, but indeed the smallest

self-governing state in the world. Being small does not necessarily

connote that we have lesser problems to address. We believe in playing

our part, however small, in the affairs of the world. For we are a part

of the world family, and subsequently do not exist in isolation.



 Historically, my country was annexed by Great Britain in 1900 and a

year later handed to New Zealand to administer as a part of the British

Empire. The annexation and the subsequent administration transplanted

outside values which my people have come to accept as their own.

Although my country achieved a status of a self-governing nation in 1974

in free association with the former administration, the bond established

over seventy years of colonisation remains our link with the outside

world.



 Seventy years of external rule with imperial values has bred a people

totally dependent on its government to provide for their every need.

 The challenge before my Government, is therefore, not so much as to try

to reverse the ingrained dependency, but to encourage partnership in all

decision-making and development.



 My Government is conscious of the global concerns over rapid population

growth, the over-exploitation of natural resources, environmental

degradation, and the issue of equal rights. I am pleased to report, that

these concerns are being addressed by my Government. External agencies

and organisations such as UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, WHO, UNESCO, ESCAP and

the Pacific regional agencies are assisting my country in the

implementation of population related programmes, focussing on

reproductive health and family planning, education, socio-economic and

environment issues. With all this assistance, Niue is indeed kept in

touch with the world at large.



 No two countries are the same, nor are the magnitude of problems

similar, but the experience of successes and failures are nevertheless

symptomatic of a changing world. Reform for the better comes in

different forms and kinds. For my little country, small as it is, our

aspiration is to create and maintain a living community. To follow a

commitment of a partnership with the private sector in creating a

sustainable self-reliant community united within the framework of a

dynamic economy whilst recognising the valuable contribution of the

environment and cultural values. For the world today is going through a

period of structural re-adjustments in a drive to achieve social and

sustainable economic development. As so is Niue.



 Mr. President,



 My Government is currently undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of

Niue's potential for achieving long-term sustainable economic and human

development. Following a successful round of grassroots meetings between

the Population and Development Committee and Niuean Villagers. It is

proposed that a strategy be adopted that involves all communities as

partners in the development of the Principles yet to be endorsed in the

Programme of Action of this Conference.



 Our goal as alluded to, is to work towards achieving a manageable

population size by the year 2,000, as well as stepping out of the

shadows of our former administration if we are to establish a

recognisable international profile. Our situation today is by no means

economically satisfactory. My Island state is, like all other developing

countries, very much dependent on external assistance for development.

For the immediate future, this situation will not significantly change,

nor our aspirations for a self-reliant nation become a reality. It is

for this reason that developed countries are asked to maintain and to

increase their level of financial and technical assistance to my

country.



 Mr President, I and my delegation would like to acknowledge with our

sincere gratitudes to the countries such as USA, Japan, Norway, U.K. and

many others who have pledged to increase their annual contributions

towards this world human development. We are all committed to making a

today that is better than yesterday, a today that is appropriate for

today, and a tomorrow that is better than today, for our sakes, for

women, the children and their children.



 Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention.


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