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King welcomes appointment of first Tongan woman at UN 72nd session

King Tupou VI has told United Nations leaders his country has welcomed the appointment of the first Tongan woman to a senior level in the international organisation.

Fekita ‘Utoikamanu was appointed in April as UN’s new High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.

“We welcome the appointment of the first woman from Tonga and the Pacific Islands of region to shepherd the important advocacy and the facilitation work in the years ahead of the office for the least developing countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states”, the king said.

Tonga has fully supported the goal of gender parity including at all levels at the United Nations, he said.

The king was addressing the general debate of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the UN in New York on 19 – 25 September 2017.

His Majesty also said Tonga was supportive and contributed to works done by the United Nations to address the Pacific Island countries specific development challenges and negative impacts of climate change.

“We have and continue to experience the negative impact of ocean degradation to our livelihood and cultures due to anthropogenic activities and interrelated devastating effects of climate change”, the king said.

He reminded the diplomatic leaders Tonga had spearheaded the campaign to save and protect the existence of whales.

Tonga hosted this year an international whaling meeting and the king said his late father King Tupou IV signed a royal decree in 1978 to prohibit whaling in the kingdom.

This was four years before the international ban on whale hunting came into effect, he said.

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