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Fijian Peacekeeping honoured at the United Nations

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New York, 1 June: Fiji's Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr Satyendra Prasad, was humbled and honoured to receive the Dag Hammarskjold medal on behalf of the family of the late Warrant Officer Class One Niko Komaiasa Ralagi, a Fijian UN Peacekeeper who died whilst serving at the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in Syria last year.

The medal was presented by the UN Secretary-General, H.E. Antonio Gueterres, to recognise the sacrifice of the late Niko Ralagi, who had a very distinguished career with the RFMF and had served in various UN Peacekeeping Missions. Before his untimely death in UNDOF, Mr Ralagi was a Senior Operation Warrant Officer at the RFMF Operation Cell at the Land Force Command Headquarters. A decorated Fijian soldier who had served in several UN Peacekeeping Missions, he was also recipient of the General Service Medal, MFO Peacekeeping Medal, UNIFIL Peacekeeping Medal, UNAMI Peacekeeping Medal, UNMISET Peacekeeping Medal, UNDOF Peacekeeping Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal.  The late Ralagi is survived by his wife, Mrs Salanieta Lesumaimaumi Ralagi and five children.

In a global environment where peace becomes a highly valuable goal due to the multilayered and complex security challenges, the medal ceremony carries great significance and symbolism for the United Nations in paying tribute to UN Peacekeepers who make the ultimate sacrifice in the pursuit of international peace and security. Over the years, UN Peacekeeping operations has seen more than 3000 deaths in the various Peacekeeping Missions globally. The medal ceremony is part of the UN International Peacekeeping Day celebrated in New York each year.

This year, the United Nations is also celebrating its 70th year of Peacekeeping. It coincides with Fiji's celebration of its 40-years of contribution to UN Peacekeeping globally.

Today's event in New York began with a wreath laying ceremony followed by UN Secretary-General's presentation of the Dag Hammarskjöld Medals to Troop and Police Contributing Countries to recognize and honor UN peacekeepers who lost their lives in the service of peace over the past 12 months. It remains an important annual event in the UN calendar that provides an opportunity to remember the families of all Peacekeepers who have not returned home.

During his remarks, the UN Secretary-General thanked all Troop and Police Contributing Countries for their sacrifice and dedication to international peace, security and prosperity. It was moving ceremony that was attended by over 50 countries who provide the United Nations with Peacekeepers. Ambassador Prasad was accompanied to the medal ceremony by Col. Manoa Gadai, Military and Police Advisor at the Fiji Mission in New York.

 




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Several members of Public Accounts Committee of the Fijian Parliament visiting Wellington this week took advantage of a visit to the Wellington City Council’s Southern Landfill yesterday to glean a few ideas for waste management in Fiji. This included the Hon. Alexander O’Connor, Assistant Minister for Health, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, Opposition parliamentarian and Ms. Priya Chand, Parliamentary Secretary who were accompanied by the Fiji High Commission New Zealand staff.

The Southern landfill is an impressive setup particularly as it focuses on recycling and minimising the damage to the environment at the landfill.

 

Other remarkable features of the landfill were its gas collection, electricity regeneration, green waste mulching and water table management. The Hon. O’Connor, an engineer by profession, was particularly impressed and intends to develop a few ideas for the Fijian Government to consider.

 

The PAC members were invited to attend the Pacific PAC training seminar in Wellington facilitated by UNDP from the 12th to the 13th December.

The PAC members, including Deputy Chair, Hon. Mohammed Dean, MP, were hosted to afternoon tea at the Fiji Chancery.  It was an opportunity for the Parliamentarians to meet the Locally Engaged Staff at the Mission and also update the staff on the work and concerns of the Public Accounts Committee.

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