McCully: UN must help Pacific nations and Syria
It was interesting to read in the New Zealand Herald that in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully said that the United Nations must offer more support to small Pacific Island nations to maintain political stability, manage crucial fishing resources and develop renewable energy.
Mr McCully also warned that the UN risked losing its credibility because of its inability to act over Syria. But doesn't this also apply to New Zealand and Australia's credibility. They have clearly shown their inability to effectively act over Fiji.
McCully also said New Zealand's work as chairman of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum had underlined how regional organisations like the forum relied on the UN "for solutions to challenges that are truly global in character". In that regard "we need and expect more" from the UN. This is more like passing the buck. Yes there are global issues but the region doesn't need to wait for the UN. As a region we have the cumulative brains, people and resources. We can take the lead in resolving our issues, with assistance form the UN. So why are we looking to the United Nations to take the lead, after all, this is our backyard and the issues can easily be overcome if people in key Government positions actually walked the talk, instead of just talking the talk.
McCully, among other things, also claimed that one of the most striking features of our region has been the complete lack of progress in putting lofty climate change rhetoric into any form of renewable energy practice. But New Zealand and Australia and the region have also ignored the Biketawa declaration, issued by Pacific islands Forum leaders at their meeting in Kiribati in 2000. The Biketawa declaration was developed in the wake of coups in Fiji and the Solomon Islands and makes it possible for members of the Forum to call on their colleagues to help uphold democratic principles. Prime Minister Qarase did ask for help but none arrived. However, some forum leaders have voiced their objections to Bainimarama's military junta, and they continue to do so. And New Zealand and Australia applied sanctions against the Bainimarama junta, but they are slowly being removed.
McCully also said that there was more the UN, particularly the Security Council, could do to acknowledge and support regional leadership in the Pacific and elsewhere on peace and security matters. He said it was difficult to overstate the level of frustration "of the people he represents" with the complete inability of the UN Security Council to act in relation to Syria.
But Fiji is far smaller than Syria and the forum countries have the resources and means to uphold democratic principles, as they had agreed to in 2000. But they have not done so. Now McCully is pointing the finger at the UN and accusing them of "complete inability" to act in relation to Syria when McCully did not effectively act in relation to Fiji. This, unfortunately, is the type of regional leadership we have today that is maintaining our political stability, managing our crucial fishing resources and developing our renewable energy.