AOSIS outlines important SIDS issues to reflect in the UN Secretary General’s priorities for 2022

2022-01-21 H E. Conrod Hunte, Deputy Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

Excellencies and Colleagues,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS).
While we are seated here Mr. Secretary-General, our sister island of Tonga is reeling from the devastation of a volcanic eruption and tsunami. The latest reports are simply disturbing, entire communities were destroyed, and the number of lives lost is expected to increase.
AOSIS stands in solidarity with our Tongan brothers and sisters and offers our sincerest condolences.
While we are saddened that there was a delay in the response by the international community, we are encouraged that the UN system is now on the ground to offer much needed support and assistance.
We are committed to ensuring that the government and people of Tonga are given the necessary support to rebuild lives and livelihoods.
2022 is reminisce of 2020 and 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, and the tools needed to comprehensively address the pandemic are still disproportionate.
Developed countries are responding to the negative effects of the pandemic with unprecedented vigor, while many developing countries do not have the tools or the means to offer a similar response and protect their citizens.
A year after the global rollout of vaccines, and three years into the pandemic, vaccine equity is still a major concern.
The loss of life as a result of COVID-19 continues to be monumental, and the rate of infections due to new variants seems to be unrelenting.
Millions have died and hundreds of millions infected, those who are affected the worse are people in developing countries.
The economic impact of the pandemic on Small Island Developing States is nearing crisis levels.
Unfortunately, in many aspects, crisis after crisis seems to be the order of the day, and it appears that with the many crises that we face, the global community is becoming desensitized.
Or is it Mr. Secretary General, that as a global community the burden is too heavy and some of us are simply fatigued.
AOSIS, is hopeful that neither is true, because now more than ever, small developing states require action from the UN system and developed partners.
Action is still needed to address climate change, the external debt burden, and the lack of fiscal space available to our small states.
Action is still needed to address access to financing for SIDS, ocean pollution and the food and water crisis.
Some of the prescription by the international community to address the current crisis are woefully inadequate. For example, not all SIDS have access to the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), even though all indications are that the economic contraction is greater in SIDS than any other group of countries.
Secretary General,
Your vision for a better, stronger and more effective United Nations must be inclusive of SIDS, your past support to AOSIS is evidence of your commitment to ensuring that no country is left behind.
The work of the United Nations is therefore pivotal for Small Island Developing States; we cannot do this alone.
The organization must accelerate efforts to assist SIDS in fully implementing the 2030 agenda and achieve our development aspirations as outlined within the SAMOA Pathway.
And as we conclude the cycle of the SAMOA Pathway, the time is now for the UN system to begin putting in place mechanisms for the next international agreement for SIDS.
The 4th international conference for SIDS is a mere 2 years away and the system must be ready for the next global SIDS blueprint.

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Sub Topic: Cross-cutting

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