Agenda item: 94(d): Further implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
United Nations, 20 October 2003
A decision of remarkable significance was taken last year by the General Assembly when it convened an International Meeting in 2004 to undertake a full and comprehensive review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). This 10-year review, commonly described as Barbados+10, had been called for in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The General Assembly has also accepted the gracious invitation of the Government of Mauritius to host the International Meeting.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) is spearheading the preparations for the International Meeting in keeping with the General Assembly resolution 57/262. My Office is collaborating closely with the Alliance and the fellow Secretariat entity, SIDS Unit of DESA. As indicated in the report of the Secretary-General (A/58/170), just introduced by my esteemed colleague Under-Secretary-General Jose Antonio Ocampo for consideration under agenda item 94(d), the three SIDS regions have concluded their preparatory meetings earlier this month, and they are now poised to bring together their outcomes to the inter-regional meeting in the Bahamas in January to be forged in a common SIDS platform. The three-day global preparatory meeting at the United Nations during the Commission on Sustainable Development, which meets next April, will carry the preparatory process further.
For a worthwhile outcome at Mauritius, widest possible involvement of all stakeholders in the remaining preparatory process and in the actual review is necessary. In addition to Member States, in particular donor countries, which are urged to participate at very high levels, the participation of the major groups identified in Agenda 21 and agencies and organizations both within and outside the UN system will be essential and critical. Such engagement is absolutely important for a successful and a meaningful outcome and subsequent follow-up of the International Meeting. Here, I would emphasize the full participation by the multilateral financial institutions, in particular the Bretton Woods institutions, the private sector, NGOs and other civil society organisations.
Another pertinent point to be borne in mind in preparing for the International Meeting is the need for a focused agenda with clearly identified priorities. An overloaded agenda would crowd the outcome document thereby contributing to its diffusion. Also it is absolutely essential that the Mauritius Meeting result in an implementable outcome with a specific follow-up and monitoring arrangements. It is necessary to benefit from the lessons that we have learnt during last nine years while implementing the Barbados Programme. It would be inadvisable to follow the same pattern of the past in the post-Mauritius follow-up. I believe that while it was necessary to emphasize the need for national level implementation, the practical and meaningful support of the international partners should have been forthcoming to make the consensus of Barbados work. The knowledge and experience of my Office will be put to work in support of achieving these objectives.
In identifying the priorities for the International Meeting, it would be useful to focus in particular on the issue of vulnerability - economic, social and environmental - of the Small Island Developing States, poverty eradication measures, freshwater issues, climate change, renewable energy, development of marine resources and sustainable fisheries, emerging pandemic of HIV/AIDS, issue of connectivity and, of course, the trade-related issues of significance to these small and vulnerable economies. Such a focus would bring in a practical approach to the preparatory process. It is pertinent to bear in mind that the issues of regional integration of and declining resources for the SIDS are of crosscutting concern. The vulnerability issue will also contribute to the upcoming consideration of the graduation of the SIDS Least Developed Countries.
Global advocacy for the cause of the Small Island Developing Countries and mobilization and coordination of international support for realising the envisaged outcome at Mauritius are vital for helping these countries in facing effectively their development challenges in the coming years. As mandated by the General Assembly, the Office of the High Representative is undertaking this responsibility through building of partnership. We will strive to see that the focused agenda and priorities of the Barbados+10 process take concrete shape at Mauritius.
The expected renewal of the political commitment of the international community that we are seeking for further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action and the additional challenges that have emerged since its adoption can only be achieved through a determined and pragmatic approach of all from now on.
Finally, I wish to underscore that while continuing to contribute to the preparations of the International Meeting through the scheduled meetings, the AOSIS members need to work concertedly to seize the opportunities offered by major upcoming global events, specifically the High Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the Marrakech Meeting on South-South Cooperation, the World Summit on the Information Society, the Doha Round and importantly at UNCTAD XI.
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