Four Years of Achievements: A Farewell to High Representative ‘Utoikamanu
By OHRLLS Director, Heidi Schroderus-Fox
After four years of devoted service, it is time for OHRLLS to bid a heartfelt farewell to our dear leader, Fekita ‘Utoikamanu, who departs as High Representative on June 30.
Ms. ‘Utoikamanu is a true trailblazer - the first female, first islander, first Pacific and first Tongan to lead our work. She leaves behind a legacy of dedication, hard work and personal integrity.
As a High-Representative, Ms. ‘Utoikamanu achieved so much - even during a global pandemic - and her unprecedented achievements will continue impacting our work for a long time.
She has forged strong links between the groups of countries we serve, namely the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and consolidated strong relationships with those who share our mission, especially the global network of UN Resident Coordinators.
Ensuring our decision making is never done in the abstract, she established a network of national focal points who link our work at HQ to the reality on the ground. This has provided invaluable insight and strengthened our work through enhanced engagement at national and regional levels.
Ms. ‘Utoikamanu also worked to reinvigorate how the United Nations itself works with the most vulnerable countries. Through investing heavily in an Inter-Agency Task Force to ensure all UN efforts are aligned, coordinated and ambitious, she also established a new mechanism to support countries graduating from the Least Developed Country category to ease their paths forward.
Always with eyes on the Sustainable Development Goals, the High Representative ensured that all of the work of the office – especially the Programmes of Action that drive support for our country groups - were in service to the UN’s 2030 Agenda.
The High-Representative’s Office – OHRLLS – at the end of her tenure is as strong as it has ever been. Sixteen LDCs are due to graduate from the Least Developed Country Category – an all-time record – and relations with all Member States are positive, strong and productive.
Preparations for the 5th Conference for the Least Developed Countries in Doha (Qatar) in January 2022 are well underway and the outcome of that conference – crucially important in our efforts to meet the SDGs – will also form part of Ms ‘Utoikamanu’s legacy.
The work started by High-Representative ‘Utoikamanu does not end with her tenure. It continues strong as OHRLLS will keep working on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable countries to a more sustainable and fair future.
It is now time for OHRLLS to say thank you – Malo Aupito, High-Representative!
We hope our paths will cross again many times in the future.