SIDS require political, technical and financial support to achieve sustainable development

2013-12-10 H.E. Ambassador Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the UN Download PDF

Topic: Sustainable Development

Nauru has the honour to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small
Island States (AOSIS), a coalition of 44 island and low lying coastal
states from the AIMS, Caribbean and the Pacific region.
AOSIS associates its statement with the statement delivered by
the distinguished Permanent Representative of Fiji on behalf of
the Group of 77 and China.
We offer our sincere appreciation to the eminent panelists. We
are grateful to have them share their perspectives and
experiences on the needs of countries in special situations.
In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development formally recognized for the first time the special
sustainable development case of Small Island Developing States.
Last year the Rio+20 outcome, the “Future We Want”, reaffirmed
the special case of SIDS for sustainable development in view of
our unique and particular vulnerabilities.
The structural challenges that SIDS face are well known. They
include our small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export
base, isolation from markets, diseconomies of scale and capacity
limitations. External shocks such as the global food, fuel and
financial crisis and the impacts of climate change and natural
disasters have the power to shake our countries to our very
We have made considerable strides in pursuit of the MDGs, but
there is still a tremendous amount that needs to be done.
Improvements have been slow and uneven and we need
continued support and partnership with other SIDS and the rest of
our global community to overcome the significant challenges that
stand between us and our inclusive, equitable, and sustainable
The brief prepared for today’s meeting rightly calls climate change
“the most serious threat to SIDS in their pursuit of sustainable
development.” But it is not just SIDS that face impacts from
climate change; it is our entire global community. For this reason
the SDG process must ensure that it effectively addresses the
linkages between climate change and sustainable development by
including climate change, in accordance with the principle of
CBDR, as a cross-cutting issue in the SDGs.
A major impediment to our sustainable development is our
dependence on imported fossil fuels for our energy needs. A
staggering amount of our annual budget goes towards expensive
diesel fuel. Renewable energy would be a far better investment
for us in the long run. Efficient buildings would also help cut our
outrageous power bill. Doing these things isn’t easy for us; we will
definitely need financial and technological support, along with
effective capacity building. But make no mistake; we are
absolutely committed to shifting to renewables and support a
sustainable energy SDG. We fully recognize that if we are able to
reduce how much we spend on our energy needs, it would go a
long way towards allowing us to increase our attention to some of
our other sustainable development challenges.
However, we are already feeling the impacts of climate change
and require support to address these impacts. We have seen
persistent degradation of our island environments, which
threaten such basic needs as food and water. Extreme weather
conditions and rising seal levels pose a myriad of environmental,
social and economic challenges, while also having significant
security implications that in fact threaten the very existence of
some SIDS.
SIDS are custodians of vast expanses of oceans and as such they
must have ownership of strategies concerning the sustainable
development of oceans.
Fisheries, coastal tourism, possible exploitation of seabed
resources, and potential sources of renewable energy: these are
the building blocks of an ocean-based economy. By emphasizing
the economic power of the ocean economy, SIDS can seize their
competitive advantage and carve a niche in global economy.

In line with the importance of oceans and seas to SIDS, we
highlight the importance of taking steps to preserve its ability to
be a long term resource for our peoples.
This includes ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of
marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
It includes addressing the causes of ocean acidification, land
based sources of pollution, and IUU fishing. It includes promoting
the full recognition of the special requirements of SIDS in regional
fisheries management organizations and providing for enhanced
participation for SIDS within fisheries and fisheries-related
industries in order to overcome critical barriers to sustainable
development and to make concerted efforts and consider
innovative options to reduce or restructure their fleets so as to
accommodate aspirations of SIDS to further develop their own
fisheries. It includes implementation of regional initiatives to
promote sustainable conservation and management of coastal
and marine resources, including the designation of the Caribbean
Sea as a special area in the context of sustainable development,
the Caribbean Challenge and Coral Triangle Initiatives and the
Micronesia Challenge to aid the achievement of Target 11 of Aichi
under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Given the critical importance of oceans and seas to SIDS, we
underscore that healthy, productive, and resilient oceans and seas
are a critical source of livelihoods and are an important element
of identity for the people of the SIDS. We believe that that oceans
and seas are a thematic priority and should be prominently
reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals and the post2015 agenda, including through the consideration of a thematic
Sustainable Development Goal.
The implementation of the BPOA and MSI over the last two
decades has illuminated important lessons learned in the value of
SIDS-SIDS cooperation, triangular, and partnerships with
development partners. Partnerships no matter how big or small
should continue to provide an important platform through which
SIDS proceed towards achieving sustainable development
In order to overcome the challenges presented thus far and to
move towards a stronger methodology for measuring policy
impact, SIDS calls on the international community to provide the
political, technical and financial support needed to make essential
transformations required to ensure our sustainable development.
However, this support must be effective and result in
measureable benefits for our people and communities.
We look forward to continue working with all of our partners on
the SDG process to ensure that it provides a framework for the
delivery of sufficient means of implementation and effective
partnerships to allow for us to go beyond the rhetoric of
sustainable development and make real, measurable progress on
the ground in the post-2015 development framework.
I thank you.

Sub Topic: SDGs

Forum: GA

Meeting: 6th Session of the OWG-SDG