AOSIS statement on the occasion of SIDS Day2006-05-05 AOSIS Representative
Topic: Sustainable Development
Chairman – thanks, etc. We are most grateful to the Vice-Chairman, Mr de Boer from the Netherlands for his masterful stewardship of the SIDS Day discussions. We received last evening the completed report of the Chairman of CSD which contains the report of SIDS Day as well as several other paragraphs of importance to SIDS – for instance in the regional level discussions. This session is dedicated to the way forward. That is the message that AOSIS had sought from SIDS Day, and I believe that we have heard a number of specific suggestions on the sorts of practical and pragmatic steps that SIDS with the support of the international community should take. We have also heard concrete offers of assistance from several donor countries, and we now need to establish a means of connecting the needs of SIDS with the offers of assistance. The Chairman of AOSIS noted in his opening remarks on SIDS Day the need for streamlining of measures to facilitate access by SIDS to resources, and this was captured in your report in paragraph 216, and is also of relevance to 225. Many donors called for appropriate enabling environments in SIDS. While we would also call for and appropriate enabling environment for SIDS at the international level, we accept our responsibility and are moving to establish national sustainable development strategies. NSDS could be the most appropriate framework for investments and grants in SIDS sustainable development. This is by no means an easy task. Some SIDS have made substantial progress. The way forward then is to build on the experiences from the SIDS regions and develop a full scale program of support for the development and implementation of NSDS, so that the Italian funded NSDS project and the partnership that the Pacific IGOs have with ESCAP and UNDP could be combined for maximum impact. We should take lessons learned from the Barbados Model and the work on sustainable development indicators from Papua New Guinea and Saint Lucia. This type of support should be made available to all SIDS to extent necessary. The report highlights biofuels in paragraphs 217 and 218. The way forward is to extend the experiences and expertise of the UNDP funded but now dormant Resilience Building Facility so that all SIDS with current or potential sugar cane production be enabled to convert to energy cane for ethanol production as a fuel and bagasse production for electricity generation. If we could produce cheaper energy for our economies then we could move towards implementing paragraph 222. Moreover all SIDS that are interested should be assisted in re-planting fallow or senile coconut plantations, perhaps with faster growing hybrids. The harvested wood can either be used as biomass for electricity generation, for furniture or planks or for mulch. We have also heard of the cost-saving benefits of the cold press method for coconut oil for use as a diesel substitute. We need to set up a SIDS-SIDS cooperative project that can develop blueprints for this cold press method, to be implemented in all interested SIDS, bearing in mind paragraph 220 that one-size-does-not-fit-all. We will need to be adaptable to local situations. For that we need the assistance of a donor. Our experts are standing by for your call. Adaptation to climate change has been highlighted by our delegations and by the discussions as seen in paragraph 224 and elsewhere. We need to take concrete steps for adaptation and several issues could be looked at such as the development of salt resistant crop types, perhaps using the expertise in the University Consortium. There is much research in the University of the West Indies and the University of the South Pacific that could be applied by SIDS. Adaptation of farming methods to changes in precipitation should also be implemented, perhaps in conjunction with innovative SIDS specific water management methods. Again we have several regional projects that could be supported. Adaptation to climate change has been highlighted by our delegations and by the discussions as seen in paragraph 224 and elsewhere. We need to take concrete steps for adaptation and several issues could be looked at such as the development of salt resistant crop types, perhaps using the expertise in the University Consortium. There is much research in the University of the West Indies and the University of the South Pacific that could be applied by SIDS. Adaptation of farming methods to changes in precipitation should also be implemented, perhaps in conjunction with innovative SIDS specific water management methods. Again we have several regional projects that could be supported. Adaptation for SIDS has many other dimensions. Our coastal zones are of high economic importance to our economies. Many local level impact assessments have been made, but we need to do these in detail for all of our vulnerable areas, and then to access the support needed to implement protective measures. As we heard in the discussions these need not be massive seawalls, but could include underwater wave-breaks, rejuvenated coral reefs or artificial reefs, or enhancements of mangroves and seagrass beds. Again we have a number of projects and programmes that could be supported, from the revision of the Caribbean Uniform Building Code to the strengthening of coastal zone mapping for seacoast dynamics research. We also need to share these experiences between regions, which is where SIDSNet should have come in. We are appalled that the SIDSNet has lost its entire staff. We had been reassured by DESA in writing that aggressive fund raising would be carried out, but much like the advocacy of the OHRLLS it appears to have only raised expectations. The way forward would involve donor support in the short term to re-establish the SIDSNet staff at headquarters and in the three regions, with a view to seeking regular budget funding for these activities in the next budget round. Again, we have a project proposal for this purpose. One shortcoming in much of the debate has related to the lack of data. We know that all SIDS have statistics offices, yet there is little effort made by the UN to ensure that these statistics are conveyed to the departments that require it. While there is probably improvements that can be made on both sides, now is the time for a fresh start. Utilizing SIDSNet once it is up and running again, there should be a proactive effort by the UN, especially the SIDS Unit, to establish an outreach process to all SIDS statistical offices and information bureaus, so that a functional database can be established, much in line with paragraph 223. Our regional IGOs are ready to assist us if we could get some support for this effort. Finally, the regional level discussions have highlighted for us that we need to strengthen support and cooperation with the regional IGOs of the SIDS, and in particular to support the work by the Indian Ocean Commission to develop a supporting framework for the entire AIMS region. There should also be support given to the inter-regional dialogue supported in the past by the Commonwealth Secretariat, and this has implications for the work of the regional SIDSNet offices. Mr. Chairman, AOSIS Member States are ready for implementation of the Mauritius Strategy and are particularly concerned that we implement the findings of CSD 14 on the four themes. This should not have to await the discussions at CSD 15. Instead we are ready to move forward. Thanks.
Sub Topic: Cross-cutting
Forum: Conference on Sustainable Development (CSD)