Honorable Chair and members of the bureau, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen,
I consider it an honour and privilege to be among you today.
Five years ago, at the International Meeting in Mauritius, the international community adopted the strategy for the implementation of the sustainable development of SIDS.
16 years ago, at the Global Conference on the sustainable development of SIDS in Barbados, the international community adopted the Barbados Programme of Action, which continues to be the blueprint for the sustainable development of SIDS.
18 years ago the “special case” of SIDS with regard to their environment and development was acknowledged by the UN and international community at the UNCED in Rio.
Today, as we meet at this the preparatory committee for the high-level review of the Mauritius Plan of Implementation this September, it is timely to recall that, within the UN context, the acknowledgement that SIDS are a vulnerable group of countries is beyond question.
I would also add that – in general – there has and continues to be considerable goodwill and empathy extended towards SIDS from the international community here at the UN, and vice-versa.
Acknowledgments of SIDS vulnerabilities are important but they need to be supported by equally important action by all of us, at all levels. This support would enable SIDS build reliance to counter these vulnerabilities and build a sustainable future for themselves.
The time has come to turn this goodwill into concrete action. One that will see SIDS meaningfully addressing the challenges and constraints they continue to face.
The SG report that has been prepared for this preparatory committee (E/CN.17/2010/9) highlights that SIDS themselves have been responsible for the realization of the MSI, and rightly so.
The Mauritius Strategy of Implementation and the Barbados Programme of Action must remain SIDS driven.
At the same time partnerships need to be strengthened where they already exist, and developed where they have not. These partnerships should include those that are based on both north/south and south/south relations. But such partnerships should also extend to private/public partnerships as well.
The international community has and continues to support and contribute towards efforts by SIDS to implement the MSI.
The support of the international community is vital for the realization of the MSI.
The inherent environmental and economic vulnerabilities of SIDS that have warranted the special case for SIDS in terms of their development remain. In many instances they have been exacerbated by the food, fuel and global financial crisis of the recent past. The adverse effects of climate change remains as of the greatest challenges to the sustainable development efforts of SIDS. Post Copenhagen negotiations must continue to recognize the special situations of SIDS and respond accordingly.
While past commitments remain valid, there is a need to scale up efforts, including through the mobalization of new and additional resources, to support SIDS build their resilience.
Last Saturday the inter-regional SIDS meeting was convened to consolidate the outcomes of the three regional preparatory meetings which were held to take stock of how the MSI was implemented in the AIMS, Caribbean and Pacific regions.
Without prejudging the outcome, implementation of the MSI could be accelerated if, among other things, the outcome of the MSI+5 contained some key concrete deliverables that are linked to the thematic areas covered in the MSI. These deliverables should demonstrably result in reducing sectoral and general vulnerability and build resilience of the SIDS.
Examples of such concrete deliverables are: renewable energy resources centre for SIDS for disseminating technologies and renewable energy equipment and use; Marine and coastal resources centres for capacity building in this vital area as well as supporting natural disaster management capacities.
The above examples of deliverables, although based on thematic sectors will, we believe, assist SIDS in building their resilience by promoting the cross-cutting theme of capacity building as well. Regional and inter-regional research centres could boost SIDS capacities in data collection & the development of technical know-how. Depending on the objectives of such centres, they could also facilitate appropriate technology transfer, including in the important field of oceans and marine science.
On the process going forward, GA resolution 64/199 requested the President of the General Assembly to present a concise draft political declaration at an appropriate date to enable sufficient consideration and agreement by Member States.
In this light I call on both development partners and SIDS to approach the President’s draft – when it is tabled for consideration – with the same spirit of partnership and cooperation that has prevailed since the special case for SIDS was first acknowledged by the international community some 18 years ago.
OHRLLS, in accordance with its mandate, will continue to support SIDS as we journey on towards September and beyond.
I wish this preparatory committee every success you continue to deliberate on the preparations for the high-level review this autumn at the General Assembly.
I thank you.