AOSIS sets out a pressing agenda at 56th UNGA

2001-10-01 Samoa on behalf of AOSIS Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

Mr. Chairman,
I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of the thirty-seven
members of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) that are represented
at the United Nations. In their name I congratulate you and the other Bureau
officers for your election.
Let me also say that as developing countries the AOSIS membership
associates fully with the statement delivered by the Chairman of the Group
of 77 and China.
Mr. Chairman,
This year the General Assembly is meeting in an environment of some
uncertainty and fearfulness. The brutal terrorist attacks in the United States,
and in our host city in particular, have been devastating in many ways, and
have touched us all. AOSIS and its member States have expressed their
condolences and contributed their viewpoints on the issue in other fora.
Global economy
I should note, however, that in some respect, the devastation of the terrorist
attacks has served to underscore the seriousness and the urgency of the
sustainable development and economic issues that this Committee will still
have to grapple with. As it is, it comes at a time of general economic
downturn in this country and in other major economies, with the real risk of
more global spread. It is a risk that puts focus on the bleak economic reality
of many developing countries, including our own. For our group it means
that the sustainable development priorities of small island developing States
(SIDS) must remain high imperatives, and not diminished. To be frank, our
greatest fear now is that the commitment of the developed countries and
donor organizations will suffer. Our endeavours will therefore be trained to
ensure that there is no diminishing of effort on our part and, more critically,
on the part of the international community in its cooperation and support for
our sustainable development efforts.
Mr. Chairman,
The Second Committee has before it a considerable agenda. Amongst
others, we will be setting in place the basis for two major international
events to be held next year.
Financing for development
Let me first address the issue of Financing for Development. The AOSIS
countries have been active in the preparatory work in their desire to make a
substantive contribution, and we will continue to do so. We, of course, share
the general concerns of developing countries. However, additionally, there
are concerns that are specific to small island developing States and their
small economies that need to be taken fully into account in the process. The
unique, sometimes special, circumstances of “smallness” and “islandness”
mark out the range of vulnerabilities of our countries and the difficulties that
we face. We believe there is pertinence and persuasion in the points we
make, and we will continue to invite the attention of the international
community to these points.
Mr. Chairman,
The preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD) are well underway. Unquestionably, it would be an occasion for
reaffirmation and rededication to the high principles of Rio. There cannot be
any question either that we need to set the world on a path to sustainable
development. The real issue then is one of implementation: the clear and
concrete actions that all countries must take.
So far, member countries of AOSIS have been able to meet at the subregional levels. And I should take the opportunity to express our thanks and
appreciation to UN/DESA and UNDP in particular, but also to the other UN
agencies, that have been involved in the arrangements for these meetings
and for the assistance in allowing the participation of our countries.
I should like also to mention that in January 2002 the AOSIS membership is
planning to meet at the inter-regional level to work out a fully integrated and
comprehensive approach for small island developing States to take forward
to the WSSD process. The goals of this five-day meeting will be

• assist with the international consensus building process on sustainable
• produce a well-formulated contribution to the WSSD; and
• increase the level of awareness and understanding among our
professional and negotiators of the links between the international
processes and the sustainable development of SIDS.

We will pay particular attention to the mechanisms to facilitate the exchange
of information; the evaluation of the GEF Capacity Development Initiative
which we regard as having fundamental value to the work of the WSSD; and
the development of capacities among our communities.
On behalf of our group, I invite the international community to kindly
consider supporting the AOSIS efforts for this important inter-regional
Barbados Programme of Action
Mr. Chairman,
At this session the Committee will also discuss the further implementation of
the Barbados Program of Action (BPOA). We recall that the BPOA was the
first UN global programme to translate into action the principles and ideals
of Agenda 21. It is therefore extremely important that the WSSD process be
informed by the experience of the BPOA and what has been done to
implement it. We also believe that the WSSD is an occasion to find
inclusive ways for the future consideration of Agenda 21 and the BPOA.
AOSIS will deliberate on this aspect in greater detail, and we will make
known our views at a later time.
I should note Mr Chairman that the full and rapid implementation of the
Barbados Programme of Action, and of the outcomes of the 22nd Special
Session of the General Assembly, are amongst the recommended strategies
for action identified in the Secretary General’s Road Map towards the
implementation of the UN Millennium Declaration. Our group very much
appreciates this recommendation.
Natural disasters
In respect of natural disaster reduction, another subject for consideration by
the Committee, AOSIS is on record for its strong support for the
International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction. The vulnerability of
small islands requires of our group the strongest support for international
action on this issue. It is, in fact, our view that the decade of planning and
preparation has been successful, and I want to express our special thanks to
all UN agencies involved in this critical aspect of our work. The AOSIS
countries believe that the strategic steps that must now be taken are those
clearly set out in the recommendations of the Secretary General’s report.
We feel, however, that there is need to keep in mind the special situation of
SIDS, and the need, for instance, to allow for greater regional cooperation
among SIDS, in situations where such regional cooperation is an appropriate
Mr. Chairman,
The Committee will also be considering the status of international
conventions that are of particular importance to our countries: the
conventions to combat Desertification, on Biodiversity and on Climate
Change. We propose to offer specific comments on each convention when
the Committee moves to examine them in detail.
Climate change
For the moment, however, let me say that the AOSIS countries greatly
appreciated the willingness of States parties to move forward with the
implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. We regard the Bonn Agreement
reached at the resumed sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to be a
highly significant achievement. It is our feeling that we are now very close
to an agreement on the details of the many complex arrangements set up
under the Protocol. You will know, Mr Chairman, that the climate change
issue remains a first priority for all AOSIS countries, and I can tell you now
that our delegations will proceed to the seventh session in Marrakech later
this month with every determination to do what we can to make that
Conference session a total success.

Renewable energy
Energy is, of course, an issue closely related to climate change. We note in
this connection the provision, a most timely one we think, for the Committee
to consider the promotion of new and renewable sources of energy. In
January this year, the AOSIS countries met to discuss energy and sustainable
development, and produced a series of important proposals that were
submitted to the Commission on Sustainable Development. While not all of
these were reflected in the work of CSD-9, we believe that some of the ideas
put forward have validity and are appropriate for this Committee discussion.
Thus we propose to renew efforts to seek international support for due focus
on renewable energy issues.
Mr. Chairman,
May I say in conclusion that AOSIS stands ready to assist you in your work.
We will, as we always try to do, be practical and pragmatic so that the
Committee can more readily find consensus solutions to the important issues
on the Committee’s agenda.
Thank you.

Sub Topic: SDGs

Forum: 2C

Meeting: GA56