AOSIS charts course towards 2030 Agenda

2020-07-08 Belize on behalf of AOSIS Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

1. 1992 will always be remembered as an important milestone in the history of the United
Nations. It was the Earth Summit and the first time all Members of the UN gathered and
committed to safeguarding the planet for people. It ushered in a new way of contextualizing
development and birthed the sister conventions on biodiversity, climate change and
desertification. The Earth Summit was also significant for small island developing States: it
was the first time that the international community recognized SIDS as a distinct group of
developing countries facing specific social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities. By
1994 the international community came together in the first global conference on the
sustainable development of small island developing States.
2. It has been twenty-six years, two more international conferences, and three programmes of
support since then. SIDS have had the commitment of the international community through
long-standing recognition as a group of countries in special situations. This recognition by no
means places SIDS in an enviable position. Instead, it is a recognition that just because of size
and geography these countries face a wealth of challenges that have often constrained
development. The multidimensional nature of their social, economic and environmental
constructs has been known to back pedal development in a matter of hours, and often in
isolation of any action by SIDS.
3. The nuances of SIDS development will always be important. It does not appear with a
pandemic and disappear with added commitment. It is not something that can be wished
away or one that SIDS can buy themselves out of. There is no growing out of this category.
A small island developing State will always be a small, vulnerable economy. That is the hand
we were dealt.
4. In the harder days it’s perhaps easier to throw your hands up and give in. Over the past few
days we came face to face, again, with a process that excluded us from the table, a deal struck
above our heads the wording of which will greatly set us back in our struggle to raise climate
change ambition. But as multilateralists we insist that we must be heard and we look for
solutions, for balance, for human decency. And we will not retreat from those asks.
5. Perhaps we all imagined the HLPF of 2020 would be one where we could forge new
commitments and finally build an equitable and sustainable world, where our self determined 2030 deadline would be the light at the end of long and dark tunnel. But here
we are instead, recommitting to each other that the disaster we find ourselves in will not
deter us from our ultimate goal of development for all. But surely, none of this projected
magnitude, not in our lifetimes, at least. The impacts of Covid-19 have infiltrated all our
countries and all our homes. Our people collectively struggle.
6. And, as we must do in times like this, we gather the agreements we committed to and hold
fast to our resolve to have them implemented. The 2030 Agenda remains the overarching
development program for SIDS and the SAMOA Pathway our sustainable development
blueprint. We recommit to the other development agendas for financing development,
safeguarding our planet, and putting people at the centre of all our work.
7. The sturdiness of these processes will be put to the test now. There can be no talk of
protecting our countries and livelihoods in the midst of Covid-19 or of recovering better
without considering where we have come from and how we intend to move forward. The
actions we are now advocating for through ‘aligning recovery’, ‘integrating more ambitious
policies’ and ‘championing transformation’ are in fact not new, just more urgent.

8. SIDS have long called for practical measures that help us to diversify our economies, build
resilient health systems, ensuring development is sustainable, taking bold and progressive
action to safeguard the planet and our island homes, and allowing access to low-cost
resources. These calls permeate the SAMOA Pathway. During this pandemic we need
measures that provide liquidity to all of us that ask for it and holistic actions to arrest our
untenable debt situations. We need ambitious and transformative actions before the climate
emergency engulfs us. We need the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.
9. The 2019 Mid-term Review of the SAMOA Pathway reiterated these calls. Fully cognizant of
the socio-economic impacts of disasters, SIDS, supported by the international community
called for a thorough examination of the disaster risk reduction funding environment. In the
midst of this pandemic, the implementation of this mandate should be as broad and thorough
as possible. Guided by the Sendai Framework, the examination should address the variety of
disasters that affect SIDS and hinder development. Covid-19 has showed us that the pigeon-holing of disasters and risks leave countries more exposed than necessary. Moving ahead,
we would all be better placed by ensuring the multi-layered and multi-dimensional aspects
of risk involve a whole-of-system approach.
10. Linked to the issue of disaster risk reduction and the growing impacts of climate change, SIDS
called for the reassessment of access to concessional resources away from an income-only
measure. Over the last few months we sat in innumerable meetings and online calls and
heard repeatedly: the international community understands the plight of SIDS but the actions
you are calling for are not possible – not for what seems like wealthy islands in the sun. But
the vulnerability of our countries is well-known. It is also accepted that our income levels can
mask our vulnerability. The competition to finance our development and build resilient
countries, recover from disasters, and cope with exogenous shocks to our economies grows
more intense. And yet, many SIDS are locked out of access to these low-cost resources and
forced to rely on borrowing. S This is not sustainable.
11. It is high time that the international community and the United Nations system to move from
mere acknowledgement to action. The calls made in the Mid-term Review of the SAMOA
Pathway and the linkages to Covid-19 recovery are not happenstance. If we acted on the
implementation of the SAMOA Pathway in a more robust way, the economic disaster from
this Pandemic would have been less burdensome. Instead, we are facing another disaster we
did not create.
12. We listened with interest today, hoping that those solutions would be present. That we could
look to the future with renewed vigor. As we meet over the next week, we will reiterate at
every forum and every chance we get – SIDS require SIDS solutions and constraining us in
with all developing countries has not and will not yield results.
13. The SIDS resolve is ever present. We value multilateralism. We place great emphasis on
sustainable development. We are committed to finding a better way for our people and this
Thank you.

Sub Topic: S.A.M.O.A Pathway

Forum: GA