I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, a coalition comprising 39 small island states and coastal communities. We align ourselves with the statement delivered by the distinguished Permanent Representative of South Africa on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
At the outset, let me express my appreciation for your diligent work. It is not easy to reflect the many diverse interests represented in this room and we commend you on the transparent and inclusive manner with which you have conducted this process from the start.
Small Island Developing States have been recognised as a special case for development by the UN system, and by the entire world. The inherent vulnerabilities associated with our remoteness pose specific and unique challenges to development, such as distance to markets, achieving economies of scale, high costs of transport and extreme vulnerability to shocks, and therefore require specific assistance that is targeted.
Three years ago, when we agreed to start negotiations on a global development agenda that would follow the Millennium Development Goals, we envisioned a future that put people at the centre of sustainable development. And to “strive for a world, that is just, equitable and inclusive.” Therefore, any agenda that purports to be universal must recognise that SIDS remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. And this consistency must be maintained throughout the document. A coherent and coordinated approach must be adopted, to improve and strengthen the United Nation’s overall effectiveness and delivery to SIDS, to make the UN system “fit for purpose”.
The post-2015 development agenda must therefore advance the priorities of SIDS. And these priorities have been clearly articulated in the SAMOA Pathway agreed to last year. We strongly reiterate that the SAMOA Pathway, as SIDS’ contribution to the post-2015 development agenda, must be fully integrated into our discussions and in the final agenda.
It is a consequential time in our work to develop our economies sustainably and create opportunities for so many people to reach their full potential. Our work on the Post-2015 development agenda, of course, is well underway and over at the climate change negotiations, the international community is making progress toward signing a much-anticipated climate treaty at the end of the year in Paris.
We are reminded continuously of the urgency we face. This week, scientists reported that 2014 was the hottest year on record, validating that the Earth is warming and the climate is changing in response to the rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. The latest synthesis report of the IPCC confirmed that the effects of climate change were getting worse under all modelling scenarios, and that SIDS are at the forefront of these effects. In a separate report, scientists also reported that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and those animals living in them.
Both Climate Change and Oceans are goals that SIDS have fought hard to have in the Sustainable Development Goals. Climate change presents an existential threat. It is a major obstacle in achieving our sustainable development goals, particularly for SIDS who are so vulnerable to sea level rise and so dependent on healthy oceans for our livelihoods. As custodians of vast expanses of oceans, our economies, our development is unavoidably tied with oceans and the organisms that live within it.
This is why we reiterate that the Report of the OWG on Sustainable Development Goals as highlighted in UNGA Resolution 68/309 shall serve as the basis for integrating sustainable development goals into the post-2015 development agenda. We do not support any reopening or renegotiating of the number and nature of the goals.
The success of the development agenda will undoubtedly depend on the provision of Means of Implementation that are adequate, sufficient and predictable. It will also depend on a robust global follow up system to strengthen monitoring and review of implementation at all levels, and we wish to emphasize here the critical role of the High Level Political Forum.
Special consideration must be given to building resilience, increasing competitiveness, and expanding the flow of funds for the financing of sustainable development with specific attention to the particular diversity of needs of the SIDS and our unique sustainable development challenges in this connection.
To be most effective, it is critical that the process and outcomes of Post-2015 development intergovernmental negotiations, those of the third international conference on financing for development (FfD), the third world conference on disaster risk reduction, and the UNFCCC, complement each other and build on their natural synergies.
AOSIS remains committed to work with the international community to ensure that a robust post-2015 development agenda is formulated and implemented. We hope that our opinions, our views and our voices have been heard loud and clear.