AOSIS welcomes the UN Task Force created to finalize the Multi-dimensional Vulnerability Index2022-01-19 H E. Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN
Topic: Sustainable Development
AOSIS Statement delivered by H E. Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the UN Informal meeting of the plenary to hear a briefing by the President of the General Assembly on his priorities for the resumed part of the seventy-sixth session 19 January 2022 President of the General Assembly, Secretary- General Excellencies and Colleagues, I have the honour to deliver this statement in my capacity as the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Firstly Mr. President, allow me to offer support to the Government and People of the Kingdom of Tonga on the destruction and displacement of lives due to the recent volcanic eruption and Tsunami. As SIDS we stand fully in solidarity with the people of Tonga and urges the entire UN system and Member States to assist our Tongan brothers and sisters during this difficult time. Mr. President, at the start of your presidency in September 2021, I indicated to you that you were assuming your presidency under extremely strenuous circumstances, even though at that time, we were sure that the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to an end. However, here we are in 2022, with yet another variant of COVID-19 and entering the third year of this global pandemic. Over 362 million infected, almost 6 million lives lost and an avalanche of economic loss, resulting in a global recession unlike any other. As we build global solidarity and coordination in order to avoid any further turmoil, I must remind all that the earth is still warming at unprecedented rates, sea level continues to rise, and because of the effects of climate change many of us are facing a food and water crisis. None of the above bodes well for humanity and these escalating crises threatens global peace and security. Mr. President, As you embark on the second half of your presidency, I wish to reiterate that the work of the United Nations is critical for all countries, but in particular for Small Island Developing States. The impact of these global crises on our small states makes it extremely difficult for us to achieve the sustainable development goals, fulfil our goals under the SAMOA Pathway and achieve a more sustained development. The vision you outlined when you started your presidency gave us hope and I am sure you will fulfil the mandate you so outlined. Of particular importance to AOSIS are your planned events on climate change, debt, vaccine equity and oceans. We also look forward to the convening of the Ocean’s Conference and the Biodiversity Conference (COP15), both of which were postponed last year. The 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries is particularly important to AOSIS, as our membership includes countries that are categorised as LDCs. While the group will play keen attention to the aforementioned events that are on your agenda, we are particularly pleased that several AOSIS Ambassadors are Co-Chairs of some of these important processes during the year. The participation and the perspectives of small states within the UN system is critical if the UN is to be truly inclusive. Mr. President, The UN General Assembly must continue to play a critical role in discussions on climate change, while we are of the firm belief that the UNFCCC anchors much of the discussions on global action on climate change, this August assembly should continue to contribute to those ongoing discussions. This is crucial to ensure consistency and to reinforce at all levels the urgency for climate action. The group is encouraged that you have highlighted the impact of climate change on SIDS, and we remain at your disposal in leading the charge in this regard. The survival of SIDS not only is anchored in the preservation of the environment, but also on economic growth and development. We are therefore pleased with the steps that you are taking in establishing a UN Task Force that aims to carry forward work to finalise the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index. After almost 30 years of discussions, we are nearing the end of a process that that will finally take in account the vulnerability of our small states and allow all SIDS access development aid. Finally, Mr. President, SIDS are racing against time; we have 2 years remaining for the full implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and 8 years remaining for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SIDS must continue to be prioritized, we therefore encourage your continued commitment to ensuring that the mandates given to the UN system regarding SIDS be realized and be included in your agenda for the remainder of your presidency. Your commitment to ensuring that all countries, small or large can achieve sustainable development will be one the greatest success your presidency.
Sub Topic: Cross-cutting