SIDS Call for Action on Climate Change and SDGs

28 September 2012: On the fourth day of the General Debate of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, and Sao Tome and Principe addressed the Assembly. SIDS highlighted the importance of addressing climate change and agreeing on post-2015 development goals.

Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, called on the Assembly to assist in the fight against climate change, urging States to set aside short-term interests and instead act for the “benefit and protection of all.” Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, lamented the deceptive classing of “middle income” countries on the basis of per capita income, and looked forward to a post-2015 strategy that tackles major impediments to growth, as well as promoting creators of wealth and prosperity. Anthony also called for a strong commitment to technology transfer and building local human capacity to deal with climate change and attendant disasters.

Lord Tu'ivakano, Prime Minister of Tonga, highlighted the importance of closing the “pre-2020 mitigation ambition gap” and constructively addressing loss and damage associated with climate change impacts, taking into account the costs of adaptation. He underscored the importance of fisheries for his country and welcomed the outcomes of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) on developing national capacity for sustainable fisheries.

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, called for clear, time-bound, targeted and measurable post-2015 development goals. He said these should build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and be expanded to cover broader sustainable development issues. Underscoring that climate change is the most crucial and urgent issue facing the world today, he called on the “conscience of states.” Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Fiji, outlined the impact of floods on his nation, calling on States to commit to addressing climate change. He also stressed that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should go further than merely adding indicators and a delayed target date to the existing MDGs.

Meltek Sato Kilman Livtunvanu, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, outlined the negative impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion, coral bleaching and ocean acidification. He stressed the importance of addressing marine pollution, calling on all States to ratify the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution and its Protocol. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, stressed the need to make green energy a global priority.

Antonella Mularoni, Prime Minister of San Marino, highlighted the importance of reducing risks in the most vulnerable regions and building capacities necessary to prevent disasters. Patrice Emery Trovoada, Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, highlighted the designation of its territory as a UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Biosphere Reserve. [UN Press Release] [Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Statement] [Saint Lucia Statement] [Tonga Statement] [Samoa Statement] [Saint Kitts and Nevis Statement] [Vanuatu Statement] [San Marino Statement] [Sao Tome and Principe] [Fiji Statement] [Statements from UNGA 67 High-level Debate, 28 September]