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Pacific UNCSD PrepCom Finalizes Outcomes

17 August 2011: The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), and the Government of Samoa have released the final agreed outcomes from the UN Conference for Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) Pacific Subregional Preparatory Joint Ministerial Meeting. 

The meeting convened in Apia, Samoa, from 21-22 July 2011. During the meeting, participants adopted “in principle” an outcome document including recommendations, and agreed that Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) would provide comments on the document before it would be considered final. The final outcome document (Rio+20/Pacific/2011/4-1 Final Record) includes the following recommendations.

On the green economy, the Pacific subregion recommends, inter alia: that national country analyses should be completed and form the basis of country-specific strategies for greening economies, and these should feed into the development of any road map or implementation plans that might be developed by countries and the region; that the green growth paradigm be adopted as part of national macro-economic and structural reform policies, as well as law reform; that necessary fiscal and budget reform to achieve a low-carbon green economy and sustainable development should harmonize the imperatives of environmental sustainability, social inclusiveness and economic growth; and that a regional green growth road map could be developed through the CROP Sustainable Development Working Group to assist Pacific SIDS countries and to help support the implementation of the sustainable development goal of the Pacific Plan.

On institutional frameworks for sustainable development, the Pacific subregion recommends, inter alia: that respective mandates of international, regional and subregional organizations be fully respected and maximum collaboration and cooperation emphasized; that national sustainable development strategies (NSDS) provide the best framework to integrate the opportunities that green economy approaches may offer to sustainable development for Pacific SIDS; that Pacific SIDS become involved in the Pacific Island Forum Cairns Compact Peer Review process; that steps be taken to review and, where relevant, revitalize partnerships that have not been active; that the Pacific NSDS Regional Support Partnership could be used by Pacific SIDS to improve NSDS preparation, review and implementation, and the Green Growth subsidiary partnership could provide the diagnostic work required for ‘greening' as well as assisting countries to assess and implement the opportunities identified for green growth; that development of a web-based platform should be explored, with detailed descriptions of projects and activities in need of financing in the region for donors to access; and that experiences from innovative national financing options and tax incentives already being implemented in the Pacific should be captured and shared, to foster similar approaches in other PICs.

The document also includes a call to the international community to, inter alia: learn lessons from the sustainable lifestyles that have long been practiced by the people of the Pacific region, whose wellbeing and cultures are intrinsically linked to the natural resources and biodiversity of their islands; ensure that the “blue economy” aspects of sustainable development are featured prominently at Rio+20; accept that it bears the moral responsibility and, in turn, the financial burden, for climate change mitigation and adaptation; and agree to improve access to funds for SIDS for the transformation of their economies, and to ease the reporting burden faced by small island administrations. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [IISD RS Sources]