Globalization must not end in re-colonization of SIDS by economic means

2000-09-05 H.E. Ambassador Tuiloma Neroni Slade Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

Mr. Chairman,
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, and to
congratulate you and your bureau on your election.
This year the 2nd Committee will have a very busy schedule, and our group of countries
wish to take this opportunity to highlight the most important aspects of this years’ agenda.
We will return to each of these issues with detailed proposals at the appropriate time.
However, we are of the view that this general debate will allow us the opportunity to
raise some fundamental and principled positions of our group, and that this would be of
assistance to other delegations in understanding our motivations and initiatives.
The AOSIS countries fully subscribe to the views put forward by the Chairman of the
Group of 77 and China earlier today. As developing countries we are supporting all the
points that he has raised on our behalf. My statement is therefore merely a further
elaboration to indicate where the special situation of Small Island Developing States
requires us to give appropriate consideration.
Mr. Chairman last year the General Assembly held its 22nd Special Session to give its
consideration and appraisal of the implementation of the Barbados Program of Action.
AOSIS delegations participated at the highest level, and we are confident that the General
Assembly afforded us a valuable opportunity to discuss the state of progress so far. The
emphasis was clearly placed on the validity of the BPoA as a living framework for
sustainable development in SIDS. The specific constraints of SIDS, and the need for
particular support were also given its proper recognition. The negotiated consensus
outcome is therefore a welcome step forward in the implementation of the BPoA by the
international community. Because that is where, Mr. Chairman, that the General
Assembly found the biggest gaps. While it is clear that SIDS have made remarkable
efforts to promote sustainable development with some international support, however, in
many cases it was equally clear that many SIDS are still dependent on the financial
assistance and cooperation of the international community.
In order to promote its implementation in SIDS, the BPoA called on SIDS to formulate
national action plans and environmental strategies, to carry out legislative reforms to
fulfill environmental norms, and establish national institutions for sustainable
development planning and project implementation. Many SIDS now have sustainable
development councils and authorities, and many SIDS are now utilizing tools such as
environmental impact assessment to protect the environment, in addition to implementing
sustainable development projects. At the Special Session, SIDS representatives called
attention to problems encountered and various constraints that have delayed the process
of implementation, such as the Asian financial crisis, drought caused by El Nino, and
large natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch. Lack of proper institutional and
administrative capacity and skilled human resources have also hampered our ability to
meet the demands of environmental management. On top of the domestic commitments
of national sustainable development authorities, there are also international commitments
to a growing number of treaties, be they regional or international. Our group of countries
have made tremendous efforts, and it is now time for the international community to
follow through.
Partnerships for further work
AOSIS fully endorses the principle of partnerships for sustainable development, as
emphasized at the 22nd Special Session. We fully recognize that while it is up to SIDS to
pursue sustainable development, all partners should foster an enabling environment. All
partners should live up to their commitment to take further measures to support SIDS in
this regard.
Again, Mr. Chairman, the 22nd Special Session was quite succinct and to the
point in its analysis of what is required. Because in the very difficult international trade
and financial arena, SIDS find themselves very often marginalized. That being said there
are some positive signs such as the recent signing of the Cotonou Agreement by the
European Union and the ACP countries. It is also a very positive development that Cook
Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue
and Tonga have now joined the ACP group, which means that the ACP now has nearly
all the AOSIS Members on board. AOSIS is confident that the EU will commit
substantial resources to sustainable development and capacity building in SIDS. In this
regard it was a very positive step by the Government of Italy to sponsor a workshop on
climate change that was held in Apia, Samoa in July and August of this year. The report
of this workshop has been circulated as an official document of the United Nations.
It was also very positive to hear the announcement by the Government of Norway
regarding their willingness to support capacity building for AOSIS. Norway has already
provided substantial resources to strengthen the SIDS Unit and also to help secure the
second stage of SIDSNet. In addition we have received with great appreciation the news
that Norway will contribute to the capacity building workshops which we are planning
for 2000 and 2001. It is our sincere hope that other donor countries will follow the good
example that Norway has shown.
It is the view of AOSIS that partnerships and donor coordination are crucial to the
success of the implementation of the BPoA. We must work much more concertedly to
build on the efforts of the SIDS, and to support other ongoing activities, especially in the
areas of capacity building and institutional strengthening.
The 22nd Special Session recognized that SIDS face new challenges and opportunities
from globalization. This was strongly reiterated by many of our Leaders during the
Millennium Assembly, and cannot be emphasized enough. We can all understand that
there are tremendous benefits in the global economy for SIDS, but we also know how
difficult it is for many of us to access these benefits. In principle we are all in favor of a
totally free and open market, but such a principled stand is a pyrrhic victory for
globalization if the end result is the re-colonization of SIDS by economic means. We are
also very concerned about the losses we are incurring in our commodity sectors, and we
fear that many bankrupt farmers will turn to other more lucrative, but illegal, crops to
sustain their families. SIDS are willing to work out compromises, but we do feel that in
the case of trade issues that the developed countries need to make some Solomonic
AOSIS is planning to hold a workshop on trade, environment and SIDS in 2001, and we
are actively seeking support for this endeavor. In addition, we feel that the group has not
received the fullest attention on trade matters from the UN system. While the BPoA
mandated UNCTAD to strengthen its capacity to carry out research and analysis
necessary to complement the work of the SIDS Unit, AOSIS is of the view that further
efforts are needed. AOSIS will therefore propose that the post established at UNCTAD
be seconded to the SIDS Unit, and we will introduce a proposal at the appropriate time.
Climate Change
This year the international community will gather in The Hague, Netherlands for the 6th
Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change. A vastly complex and difficult set of decisions will be before the Conference
that could make or break the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol.
AOSIS will press for an outcome that is fair, functional and dynamic, but which above all does not
result in an overall increase in the amount of greenhouse gases that the atmosphere sees.
We are also convinced that the time has come to provide better financial and technical
support to SIDS and other vulnerable countries so that we can begin a more forward
looking program for adaptation to climate change. COP6 is therefore an opportunity for
the developed countries to live up to their commitments in terms of financial and
technical support for technology transfer, capacity building, and science and research in
the developing countries.
AOSIS welcomes the completion of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and many of
our Members have signed the Protocol. The forthcoming meeting of the ICCP will be a
first opportunity for our countries to formulate views and to prepare for the entry into
force of the Protocol. In this regard AOSIS is planning a workshop prior to the ICCP
meeting. The proposed workshop aims to build the capacity of SIDS to be better
informed on the full implications of being a party to the Biosafety Protocol. The
workshop intends to contribute to strengthening their capacities in this area to enable our
Members to make informed decisions relating to the Protocol.
In anticipation of more SIDS signing and/or ratifying the Protocol, a concerted,
systematic effort is required in SIDS to create greater awareness of the Biosafety Protocol
and its implications. It will also be necessary to prepare for the first meeting of the ICCP,
as we note the requirement for countries to develop national legislation to support the
implementation of Protocol obligations at the national level. The workshop also aims to
introduce participants to model biosafety legislation that can be used to fast track this
requirement at the national level. Lastly, recognizing the need for capacity at the regional
level to coordinate regional biosafety activities, the workshop will provide an opportunity
for SIDS to contribute to the development of a proposal for regional capacity building in
this area.
AOSIS is very grateful to the Government of Norway for agreeing to sponsor this
workshop, and also to the Government of Saint Kitts and Nevis for hosting the event.
Capacity Building
Mr. Chairman, we have stated on many occasions that capacity building remains an
overarching and crucial aspect not only for the BPoA, but for the ability of SIDS to make
known our requirements and concerns. At the workshop we held in Apia, capacity
building needs were discussed at great length by our most senior negotiators. We have as
a result of this workshop produced a number of points that we have transmitted to the
Global Environment Facility. These points have all been enumerated in the report from
Apia, and we urge developed countries to closely consult this document.
Mr. Chairman, the evolution of SIDSNet into a significant tool for sustainable
development has been a source of pride for the Members of AOSIS. The professionalism
of the staff and the willingness to assist SIDS is remarkable. However, AOSIS is very
concerned that the survival of SIDSNet is contingent upon voluntary contributions. We
applaud the Governments of Germany, Japan, Norway and Italy for providing funding,
but the financing of SIDSNet should become part of the regular budget of the UN.
AOSIS will propose such action at the appropriate time.
Mr. Chairman I thank you for the opportunity and look forward to working with you at
this session of the 2nd Committee.

Sub Topic: Cross-cutting

Forum: GA

Meeting: GA55