Mr President,

It is a pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of a cross regional group consisting of Australia, Bahamas, Canada, Chile, Germany, Fiji, Ireland, Italy, Maldives, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, the International Organization of the Francophonie, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Pacific Island Forum, with the support of xx countries, the list of which is annexed to this Statement.

The community of nations has agreed that none should be left behind, that the vulnerable should be protected and that every nation should have a voice in the global governance institutions which guide global progress. The promotion and protection of human rights is inherent to both sustainable development and the maintenance of international peace and security.

The participation of all State Members of the United Nations in the work of the Human Rights Council comprises one of the most basic aspirations envisioned in the founding and evolution of this Council. Therefore, the establishment of the Voluntary Trust Fund for Technical Cooperation and Assistance for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Council represents a vital step towards achieving this aspiration. Since its formation five years ago, the Fund has supported 77 delegates, including 44 women (57.1%) and 33 men, (42.9%) in the work of the Council. By the end of this year, it would have supported 57 Member States (25 LDCs (43.9%), 24 SIDS (42.1%) 8 LDCs/SIDS (14%) and 8 fellows in 2014 and 2015. The Trust Fund expects to support 8 fellows in 2017.

This Trust Fund made possible, for the first time in its history, the universal representation of the entire UN Membership at the Council during its 10th Anniversary Celebration at the June Session last year. Yet our objective is to move beyond universal representation to the universal and active participation of nations in the work of this august body. Though Small Island Developing States (SIDS) represent less than one percent of the world’s population, they account for 20 percent of State Members of the United Nations. As we build the capability, ability and resilience of nations, and as we cater to every population, we create the safeguards that guarantee global stability and prosperity.

Mr President,

It is my sincere honour to thank every donor to this Trust Fund who make the execution of its mandate possible, with 12 donors in less than one year, as well as the 120 co-sponsors of the resolution during the March HRC session commemorating the 5th anniversary of the Trust Fund, who reaffirmed its value to both to SIDS/LDCs as well as the international community as a whole. It is also further enlightening that, for the first time, every country without a Permanent Mission in Geneva co-sponsored an HRC resolution. We also welcome the vital continued support from the Commonwealth States Office in Geneva, including, logistical and substantive human rights expertise, to the SIDS/LDC delegates during their presence in Geneva. We encourage all nations to continue their support to the fund and we encourage new donors to contribute not only to the Trust Fund but also to the notion of universality and it’s place in global governance institutions.

Our mandate to ensure the potential of all lives, across all nations, is met, is only possible when the voices of all States are heard. Only then are we able to ensure that all States move beyond representation, to active and thorough participation.

Thank you, Mr President.