Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for SIDS 2014 Concludes in New York
16 September 2013: The Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) concluded in New York, US, on 16 September 2013.
The meeting's proceedings in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 26-28 August 2013, were suspended without agreement on the outcome document, and negotiations subsequently continued in New York in September to finalize the document, titled 'Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) integrated and enabling cooperation framework for the Barbados Programme of Action and Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation.'
In a closing session on 16 September, Ambassador Joseph Goddard of Barbados announced that an amendment to Paragraph 101 had been agreed. The final text refers to ‘significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss in the marine environment at all levels' and establishing a global network of ecologically and representative area-based management measures. To this end, the paragraph reads, the international community ‘should provide technical and financial support.' Goddard declared the text adopted.
Goddard said the agreed document reflects the fact that SIDS remain a special case in sustainable development, and expresses their will to achieve a world where poverty is no more, and SIDS' economic conditions are synonymous with sustained prosperity. The outcome document frames the major concerns and priorities for the 2014 SIDS Conference, which will take place in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014. He added that the ‘road to Samoa' will not be easy.
Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of the Conference and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that along with the ministerial declaration adopted in Bridgetown on 28 August, the outcome document will serve as the basis for negotiations with SIDS partners in the global preparatory process for the Conference. He noted that through the expanded UN Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA Plus), the UN will continue to contribute to preparations, including fostering partnerships.
Marlene Moses, Permanent Representative of Nauru to the UN and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said SIDS' unity will be tested by an international development agenda that does not necessarily reflect their priorities, but that the results can be transformative for their countries and people. She stressed the need for institutional reform and an enabling environment, without which the Samoa outcome “will be just another document to gather dust.” She called on the UN to partner with SIDS to ensure the Conference results in changes on the ground.
Speaking as a member of the Conference Bureau, Ali'ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Permanent Representative of Samoa to the UN, said the gathering in Apia in 2014 will not be a SIDS' conference, but a global conference on SIDS' issues, and highlighted partnerships among SIDS, developed and developing countries, civil society and the private sector. He also noted that the Conference will take place a few weeks before the UN Secretary-General's summit on climate change. Also speaking as members of the Bureau were the Permanent Representative of Seychelles and Deputy Permanent Representative of Jamaica.
Finally, the Permanent Representative of Papua New Guinea recalled the official theme of the Conference, ‘genuine and durable partnerships,' and noted that this must “start with us."
On 24 October the UN General Assembly (UNGA) issued the outcome document as an Annex in A/C.2/68/7. [IISD RS Sources] [SIDS 2014 Conference Website] [Barbados Outcome Document][IISD RS coverage of the regional and inter-regional preparatory meetings] [UNGA Second Committee Documents]