Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Flag Raising Ceremony

Your Highnesses,
Your Excellency, Honourable Prime Minister Tuilaepa,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to attend this ceremony on behalf of the United Nations to raise the UN flag today in Apia, Samoa.

This moment represents a historic milestone in the close cooperation between the United Nations and the Government and People of Samoa, and in the preparatory process of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

The significance of this ceremony is more than symbolic  It embodies the fruits of concrete partnerships between Samoa and the international community; and it represents the culmination of the hard work of thousands of people in Samoa who have devoted their energy and services to the completion of the Conference complex.

The United Nations is deeply appreciative of the leadership and commitment of Samoa.

We take great pride in seeing the blue UN flag waving next to the national flag of our host country.

And we are extremely pleased to receive the venue in Conference-ready condition.

The Independent State of Samoa has shown to the world that a small island developing state, in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, has a big heart, ready to embrace the world.

Honourable Prime Minister,

There are so many colleagues we want to thank.

The list is too long.

But I do want to reiterate our profound appreciation to the members of the National Task Force, including Ms. Perina Sila and her team, Ambassador Elisaia and his team in New York, and Ms. Noumea Simi and her staff, for their tireless efforts leading the day-to-day work for the past 15 months.

They have overcome countless obstacles and have worked miracles.

The team spirit has been strong and it is indeed thanks to that spirit the Conference venue is ready for handover today.

Finally, let me point out that none of this would have been possible without the personal leadership of your excellence, the Prime Minister and the support of your cabinet Ministers.

Under your leadership, the government ministries and the local communities of Samoa have done everything possible to make this a smooth and seamless conference.

Honourable Prime Minister,

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Samoan hospitality.

Thanks to the legendary hospitality and painstaking efforts of the Samoan people to welcome us, we feel at home in Apia.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Mr. Prime Minister.

And on behalf of the United Nations I thank the people of Samoa.

Thank you.