Reaffirming Commitment to Small Island Developing States, Global Leaders Adopt Historic Text in Samoa Pledging Action on Sustainable Development

Samoa Pathway’ Document Calls for Building Resilience, Increased Partnerships

Renewing commitment to the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS), world leaders today agreed on a landmark action plan at the conclusion of the United Nations Third International Conference on those nations held in Apia, Samoa.


Unanimously adopting the wide-ranging outcome document, titled “Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action” — Samoa Pathway — the Heads of State and Government and other high-level representatives also reaffirmed that small island developing States remained “a special case” for sustainable development due to their unique and particular vulnerabilities (document A/CONF.223/3).


The text set out new modalities of action on a range of issues, including sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth, climate change, sustainable energy, disaster risk reduction, sustainable use of marine resources, and means of implementing those objectives.


While stressing that the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was the primary international intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change, world leaders acknowledged the important role of small island developing States in advocating for ambitious global efforts to address climate change and raising awareness of the need for bold and urgent action at the global level.


The Samoa Pathway also called for supporting efforts by small island developing States to strengthen resilience to the impacts of climate change and to improve their adaptive capacity through the design and implementation of measures appropriate to their respective vulnerabilities and economic, environmental and social situations.  In particular, developed countries were urged to increase technology, finance and capacity-building support to enable increased mitigation ambition and adaptation actions on the part of developing countries.


Also by the text, support was expressed for actions to develop a strategy and targeted measures for SIDS to promote energy efficiency and foster sustainable energy systems based on all energy sources, in particular, renewables such as wind, sustainable biomass, solar, hydroelectric, biofuel and geothermal energy.


World leaders also supported efforts to implement the 2005-2015 Hyogo Framework for Action on disaster risk reduction and work for an ambitious renewed international framework beyond that period.


They strongly committed to promote and support national, subregional and regional efforts to assess, conserve, protect, manage and sustainably use the oceans, seas and their resources by assisting research and the implementation of strategies on coastal-zone and ecosystem-based management.


In line with the Conference theme, “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships,” the text highlighted an urgent need to strengthen international cooperation and ensure such partnerships at the national, regional and international levels.


Accordingly, the United Nations Secretary-General was requested to present recommendations for a partnership framework to monitor and ensure the full implementation of pledges and commitments.  Those proposals should be presented to the General Assembly for consideration and action at its sixty‑ninth session.


In closing remarks, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the Conference, expressed hope that delegates had developed a deeper appreciation and empathy for the realities of small island developing States in a global arena of competing priorities and demands, where those with influence and resources were the winners.  The Conference was not the last of global responses to SIDS’ development challenges, but an important launch pad for ways to use the few resources available to raise living standards in their communities.  The Climate Change Summit to be held on 23 September at United Nations Headquarters in New York would serve as an essential forerunner to the Lima and Paris negotiations for an ambitious climate change treaty in 2015.  Inclusion of SIDS concerns and aims in the Paris treaty were a top priority.


Equally important, he said, was the Third Global Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, to be held in Japan in March 2015.  As the focus shifted from the vulnerabilities of small island developing States to building their resilience, any decisions on the matter must be done in consultation with those States.  The concerns of SIDS must also be included in the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda.  He expressed hope that the Samoa Pathway outcome document would be a blueprint for immediate action, not just a reference point until the next SIDS conference.  “The time for speeches is over.  We must now set sail with determination that the course of action we have chartered here will be delivered to achieve our priorities,” he said.


Wu Hongbo, Secretary-General of the Conference and United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, also delivered closing remarks, stressing that the outcome document represented the international community’s renewed political commitment to the sustainable development of small island developing States.


Prior to the text’s adoption, the Conference heard 33 speakers in the general debate, and after its adoption, the representative of the United States said he would issue a full written statement in explanation of his country’s position.  Delegates also adopted the report of the Conference, as well as the resolution titled “Expression of thanks to the people and Government of Samoa” (documents A/CONF.223/L.2, A/CONF.223/L.3 and A/CONF.223/CRP.1).


Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados; Federico Ramos de Armas, Secretary of State for Environment of Spain; Dennis Francis, Director, Directorate for Multilateral Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago; Simona-Mirela Miculescu (Romania); Milan Meetarbhan (Mauritius); and Ronald Jean Jumeau (Seychelles) reported on the discussions in the thematic multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues held in parallel to the plenary meetings.


Speaking in the general debate today was a representative of Libya, as well as representatives of the following: the Pacific Islands Forum, Global Environment Facility, Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), South Centre, Indian Ocean Commission, International Organization of la Francophonie, World Bank Group, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat.


Also, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Asian Development Bank, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group States, International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).


Speaking for major groups were representatives of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (on behalf of the non-governmental organizations major group), Conseil Régional de la Réunion (on behalf of the local authorities major group), the Caribbean Farmers' Network (on behalf of the farmers major group) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (on behalf of the business and industry major group).


Summary of Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Dialogue


FONOTOE NUAFESILI PIERRE LAUOFO, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa and ex-officio Vice-President of the Conference, briefing on the 3 September multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on oceans, seas and biodiversity, said oceans were part of daily life in small island developing States and contributed greatly to their economic activity, particularly through fisheries and tourism.  However, the unsustainable use of marine resources — including overfishing for commercial purposes and illegal and unregistered fishing — had led to a rapid decline in fish stocks.  It was essential to achieve the sustainable use of marine resources, so as to ensure long-term food security and protect rich marine biodiversity.  Integrated, holistic and global approaches should be taken to effectively manage coastal and marine areas. 


SIDS, he went on, had an intrinsic economic, social, cultural and environmental connection with oceans and seas, and therefore were well placed to develop sustainable ocean-based economies.  Integrated ecosystem approaches to the management and governance of ocean spaces and activities must be adopted through partnerships.  Those partnerships had been recognized as those related to ocean acidification; a global ocean carbon observatory network; conservation in the Caribbean; strategic cooperation with small island developing States on biodiversity and forestry; marine scientific cooperation; marine capacity-building; and effective management of marine areas.




TUILOMA NERONI SLADE, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum, said his organization was poised to implement the Samoa Pathway document and its members had been involved in the global debate on sustainable development in the context of small island developing States.  The endorsement by Pacific leaders in August in Palau of the Framework for Pacific Regionalism had reinvigorated the agenda for regional cooperation and integration.  Sustainable financing for SIDS must be central, and the criteria for graduation from least-developed-country status must be reviewed to better reflect such States’ vulnerabilities to external economic and physical shocks.  New sources of funding were needed.  The Forum would continue to implement the Forum Compact on Strengthening Development Coordination.


RAWLESTON MOORE, the Global Environment Facility, said that, in the coming years, the Facility was seeking to ramp up its investment in renewable energy for small island developing States and collaborate with a broad array of stakeholders to put programmes in place.  Since 1994, the Facility had provided nearly $1 billion in support of sustainable development in such States, and its new four-year funding cycle included the largest amount of resources ever provided for small island developing States.  For 2014-2018, the Facility would make available $256 million for projects to improve the environment, a 9 per cent increase from the previous four-year period. 


JAMES MOVICK, Director-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, noting that islands in the Pacific were highly dependent on fisheries, said that per-capita consumption of seafood in some atoll countries was among the highest in the world.  Due to population growth, many countries were expected to face a deficit in the local fish supply in the next 20 years of 100,000 tons.  In the long term, climate change was expected to reduce potential fish production.  He called for the recognition of the rights of coastal States to control fishing opportunities within their own waters; implementation of best practices fisheries management; the removal of overcapacity in the regional and global industrial fishing fleet; effective management of high seas areas; and more consistent support from the international community in terms of their development agendas and their approach to regional fisheries management and trade negotiations.


COLIN TUKUITONGA, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, said that a key element for the Pacific region was being able to measure progress and monitor implementation.  The Pacific Community had worked for several years in enhancing national statistical systems and, through the national minimum development indicators database, would continue to work with countries to meet those implementation and monitoring commitments.  The final chapters of the Samoa Pathway called for special attention to implementation, data and statistics, and institutional support for small island developing States, and in an effort to effectively support various institutional mechanisms, the Pacific Community had applied to become a permanent observer to the United Nations.


DAVID SHEPPARD, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, noting that his organization’s vision was to embrace all three pillars of sustainable development, echoed the United Nations Secretary-General’s concern over sea-level rise.  The Marshall Islands, Tuvalu and Kiribati were the lowest-lying islands on Earth.  The Pacific islands contributed 0.03 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but would be the first to go under if the dire forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came to pass.  The international community must support all island countries to become more resilient, and his Programme worked to build such resilience through the practical implementation of climate adaptation in water, food security and coastal zone management in order to protect and better manage natural ecosystems and island biodiversity, and help countries better manage waste.  He invited all delegates to work on the Programme’s campaign theme of “Natural solutions — building resilience for a changing Pacific”.


FILIPE NAINOCA, Secretary-General of the Fiji Red Cross Society, on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said that to create a platform for sustainable growth and poverty eradication, his organization urged Governments, donors and partners to consider a number of actions, including building the capacity and resilience of local institutions for effective partnerships by recognizing the role of volunteers, both in national laws and through support and training; integrating disaster risk reduction and climate change plans into national, regional and international frameworks to enhance development outcomes; making legal frameworks part of disaster preparedness; and investing in and involving youth.


MARIAMA WILLIAMS, the South Centre, said the outcome document from Samoa must chart a definitive path forward, building on the foundations of internationally agreed SIDS-specific goals in the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy.  The Samoa Pathway must push the envelope so that small island developing States could participate in more democratic and inclusive global governance arrangements.  The strategy must focus on an international sovereign debt restructuring mechanism that provided preferential treatment for their socioeconomic development, as well as new, adequate and predictable flows of climate finance accessible through simplified direct access methods and driven by SIDS-related adaptation and climate-related needs.


JEAN CLAUDE DE L’ESTRAC, Secretary-General of the Indian Ocean Commission, recalling that Member States had repeatedly stressed the inherent vulnerabilities of small island developing States during the Conference, said that those concerns represented a turning point for the future of sustainable development in SIDS.  People in those States were living in an economic and environmental emergency that required differentiated treatment.  Defining and recognizing small island developing States as a category within the United Nations was a precondition to addressing their challenges, and that special treatment should facilitate access by SIDS to new sources of multilateral funding.


TANNAO KIRI, International Organization of La Francophonie, stressed the need to establish a global economic system that respected the fact that while nations had different capacities, they all had the same rights.  La Francophonie had provided support that had enabled small island developing States to improve their coordination.  He called for strengthening the United Nations agencies that placed sustainable development at the core of their objectives.  Supporting national strategies for sustainable development in SIDS was crucial.  To boost tourism, a major income generator in many SIDS, his organization had promoted tourism’s benefit to local communities and the role of sustainable ecotourism in preserving biodiversity.  He stressed the importance of developing tools to generate sustainable tourism to tackle SIDS-related challenges in a cross-cutting fashion.  La Francophonie supported the Samoa Pathway outcome document and would do its part to contribute to its implementation and success.


RACHEL KYTE, World Bank Group, said that in recognition of the unique vulnerabilities and challenges facing small island developing States, the Group had tailored national and regional programmes to help SIDS assess social and structural sources of vulnerability, address underlying policy and institutional weakness and build resilience to respond to and manage the effects of global shocks, climate change and natural hazards.  Fourteen small island developing States had access to International Development Association concessional financing under the small islands economies exception despite having gross national income per-capita levels on average four times the Association’s operational cut-off.


ROBERTA CLARKE, Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), said it was vital to end historic, persistent exclusions and to ensure women had equal opportunities to participate in, influence and benefit from political, social and economic governance.  Ensuring women’s and girls’ voices would be a primary indicator of accountability for commitments made in the post-2015 and SIDS agendas.  To meet the goals set forth in the Samoa Pathway outcome document, it was necessary to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, strengthen women’s economic power and ensure their access to productive employment, decent work, ownership and control of land, credit, natural resources, sexual and reproductive health and decision-making processes.


WENDY WATSON-WRIGHT, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said small island developing States stood on the frontline of change and provided early warnings for the world against global problems.  The Conference carried a strategic weight as it was held ahead of the adoption of a post-2015 development agenda, and she noted that science held the key to the successful sustainable development of small island developing States.  She urged those States to encourage their youth to pursue a career in science.  Traditional knowledge held by indigenous people was also vital, as was a quality education.


TIMOTH WILCOX, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), said the Samoa Pathway outcome document was a clear sign that the international community was ready to support small island developing States and to build upon existing achievements towards preventing and managing disaster risk.  The Pacific region led the global effort in integrating climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into one strategic approach.  To address bottlenecks in that regard, the Secretary-General would announce more support measures for the region next month.  His Office welcomed the recognition of the Hyogo Framework for Action in the Samoa Pathway document and called on leaders of small island developing States to bring the message of that document to the upcoming United Nations Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Sendai, Japan.


GYAN CHANDRA ACHARYA, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, said that in preparations for the Conference, his Office had organized events on marine science and technology transfer to small island developing States, partnerships in disaster risk reduction and resilience for food and nutrition in small islands.  Recently, his Office partnered with Apple iTunes in an “Island Voices” project featuring a number of artists and music from island States across the globe.


BRAULIO FERREIRA DE SOUZA DIAS, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat, said that according to the soon-to-be-released fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook report, since 2010, national Governments, especially small island developing States, had invested more to address the unacceptable rate of global biodiversity loss.  He noted that by mainstreaming ecosystem services into the larger development agenda, the innovative practices of SIDS in community-based fisheries, integrated coastal and marine ecosystem management and public-private partnerships in tourism had shown that initiatives to stem such loss were possible and expanding.  Still, actual biodiversity loss was accelerating, compounded by climate change, pollution, invasive alien species and the loss of critical ecosystems.  He urged small island developing States to submit to the Convention Secretariat their updated national biodiversity plans in order to identify their scientific and technical cooperation needs, and to ratify the Nagoya Protocol to benefit from the sustainable use of their genetic resources and traditional knowledge in international cooperation and development.


MESBAH ABDELKADER ELLAFI ( Libya) said the survival of small island developing States was at stake and measures were needed to mitigate risk.  Those who had financial, technological and other resources should, in the spirit of solidarity, provide those resources to assist SIDS.  The Samoa Pathway outcome document was a point of departure for effective implementation of sustainable development measures for those States.


MELCHIADE BUKURU, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Secretariat, noting that all small island developing States were parties to the Convention, said those States received substantial support for sustainable land management projects, notably from the Global Environment Facility.  For the first time, SIDS were recognizing that addressing land degradation would be critical to their food security, adaptation to climate change, protection of biodiversity and resilience to natural hazards.  Citing a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, he said that SIDS were reaching the limit of their land capacity as most had limited land resources.  The loss of just one hectare of productive land was a substantial loss for them, and that land-based adaptation activities, notably through sustainable land management, were vital.  He invited SIDS to use 2015, the year in which the international community was poised to agree on a new development agenda and climate change regime, to secure provisions for land-based adaptation to climate change.


BRAHIMA SANOU, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), speaking of the correlation between economic progress in small island developing States and the rapid growth of information and communications technology, said that SIDS two decades ago had not been as connected as they were today.  In 1994, less than 1 per cent of the population across small island developing States had mobile-cellular subscriptions, but today that level exceeded 80 per cent.  Internet usage had increased from 0.1 per cent in 1994 to 35 per cent in 2014.  Even when small island developing States graduated from least developed countries status, the Union would accompany them on their development journey with unwavering support.  “We won’t penalize success.  We reward it.”


OLAV KJØRVEN, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), noted the agency’s specific support for small island developing States, citing a joint initiative with 14 Pacific island countries to end preventable child and maternal deaths.  There must be a clear, central focus on ensuring the survival of children from those States.  By 2020, an estimated 175 million children would likely be affected annually by climate change-related disasters, and a strong global climate agreement in 2015 that was capable of safeguarding the future of SIDS and their development would be essential for those nations’ children.  A quality education was particularly important in geographically and economically isolated island States, as was breaking the cycle of high rates of violence against children and women.  There must be a specific target in the post‑2015 development agenda on eliminating abuse, exploitation and all forms of violence against children.  The issues of health, nutrition, water and sanitation should be “headline” goals in the final report of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Samoa Pathway document.


LAURENT ZESSLER, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), said his agency had provided commodities for reproductive health and family planning to small island developing States and was leading efforts to ensure that the specific needs of women and girls in SIDS were carefully considered.  Climate change had been the focus of the Conference and rightly so.  If the core of adaptation to climate change was a resilient, secure and empowered people, then reproductive health was a prerequisite.  Universal access to reproductive health was fundamental to sustainable development as it prevented early marriage and early pregnancy, and ensured educational attainment, particularly for women and girls.


PRADEEP MONGA, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said that together with “SIDS Dock” and Austria, the agency had recently launched an innovative South-South partnership to create a network of regional sustainable energy centres for small island developing States in Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.  UNIDO had assisted the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, raising awareness for the potential fisheries could have towards improving the livelihoods and food security in the Pacific region.  He noted that the agency had today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Barbados to promote eco-friendly innovative industrial infrastructure and clean energy technologies.


XAVIER MARET, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said his organization had partnered with small island developing States — including Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Grenada, the Solomon Islands, Comoros and Sao Tome and Principe — in  support of their efforts to come out of the global financial crisis that had broken in 2008.  Further, IMF had helped some countries, including Haiti, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Solomon Islands, to get back on their feet following the devastation caused by natural hazards.  To better support its member countries, IMF had increased its lending capacity and approved in 2009 a major overhaul of its lending facilities framework by offering higher amounts and tailoring loan terms to countries’ varying strengths and circumstances.  The non-concessional Rapid Financing Instrument had been introduced to replace and broaden the scope of earlier emergency assistance facility, and criteria to qualify for concessional lending under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust had been eased in 2013.  The latter measure had allowed the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Tuvalu to be eligible, and also kept Dominica and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines eligible — which would otherwise have graduated.


SHAMSHAD AKHTAR, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said the Commission had been working to implement the Barbados Programme of Action and the Mauritius Strategy, trying to deepen and sharpen regional support for small island developing States.  The Samoa Pathway document reinforced the role of regional commissions, institutions and bodies in laying out a road map for sustainable development.  The role of ESCAP was to reinforce the Samoa Pathway, and it would nurture stronger regional solidarity among small island developing States.  In regards to policymaking, ESCAP was trying to equip Pacific economies in an effort to place them on the path towards sustainable green growth, and it had worked with Pacific regional bodies to implement that goal.  The Commission aimed to nurture connectivity for sustainable maritime development, bolster national disaster risk reduction efforts and create subregional statistics on the Millennium Development Goals for the Pacific region.


TIME RWABUNEMBA, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said the world had seen record-breaking declines in new HIV infections — a 38 per cent drop since 2001.  Further, AIDS-related deaths were at their lowest levels, down 35 per cent since 2005.  Small island developing States had done relatively well.  Haiti had seen a 44 per cent drop in HIV infections since 2005, while many Pacific island countries and territories had experienced a low-level HIV epidemic.  Five countries — the Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, Tokelau and Pitcairn — had reported having no people living with HIV.  Progress was fragile and gains need to be sustained.  Now was not the time for complacency, given the context of serious global challenges.


STEPHEN GRAFF, the Asian Development Bank, noting that 14 small island developing States were members of the institution, said the Bank in the last decade had almost quadrupled its portfolio of operations in such States, from $500 million to $1.9 billion.  As well as providing cheap concessional financing, the Bank was now providing grants for many of the most vulnerable countries.  It had helped SIDS respond to the global economic crises of 2008 and 2009, and in the past five years, had played a central role working with partners — including Australia, New Zealand, the World Bank and the European Union — to provide flexible budget support, helping SIDS rebuild buffers and maintain essential health and education services during an economic downturn.  The Bank was the largest single source of financing for renewable energy among its SIDS members, financing 5 per cent of those nations’ total renewable energy capacity in the past three years.


ACHILLE BASSILEKIN, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, said he trusted that the means of implementation of the Samoa Pathway outcome document would be adequately addressed to ensure that it could be and would be implemented and not just mere words put together to ensure that those with the greatest responsibility could have an escape route not to fulfil their commitments and obligations. New, additional and predictable financial resources were urgently needed to effectively respond to the development challenges of small island developing States.


ROBERT KYLOH, the International Labour Organization (ILO), welcomed the Conference discussions and said that the Samoa Pathway outcome document had addressed the need for sustained economic growth with decent work for all.  Given that the ability of small island developing States to sustain high levels of economic growth and job creation had been adversely affected by several factors, they warranted the international community’s strong support.  Youth unemployment was critical in SIDS and was associated with high levels of crime and drugs, and investment in high-quality training and education was essential to any component for tackling that, as were policies and programmes that directly created more jobs.  ILO engaged heavily in direct job creation with construction of rural road and infrastructure among poor communities in SIDS.  Migrant workers played an important role in enhancing development of their home communities.  Growth must be inclusive and equitable, and to ensure that, the introduction of a social protection floor, appropriate wages and labour bargaining rights was vital.


SHANTAL MUNRO KNIGHT, the Caribbean Policy Development Centre, speaking on behalf of the non-governmental organizations major group, said that non-governmental groups were critical partners who brought wide and varying capacities to the process.  They were service providers, innovators, capacity-builders and -mobilizers, policy advocates and technical experts.  They contributed tangibly to the small island developing States agenda, but their work and value often went unacknowledged.  Her group called for the reformulation of the global governance architecture to give small island developing States an equitable voice in international decision-making processes on climate change, economic development, social development, human rights and environmental conservation, as well as the creation of an enabling environment for civil society engagement at all levels of governance in sustainable development processes.


FLORENCE PIGNOLET TARDAN, Conseil Régional de la Réunion, speaking on behalf of the local authorities major group, said it worked to develop South-South cooperation, including among small island developing States of the Indian Ocean.  The islands had devised a draft declaration on climate change, which called for recognition that they played a watchdog role in climate change.  The group called for solidarity with small island developing States and mechanisms to enable those States to adapt to and mitigate climate change.  Further, they proposed establishment of a vulnerability resilience index for islands to prioritize financing, a debt relief initiative devised by the Government of the Seychelles and the Paris Club, creation of an energy hub for the Indian Ocean for the transfer of skills, and development of a low-carbon economy.  That initiative showed the dynamism and commitment of SIDS and inter-State authorities in combating climate change and the desire to make the transition towards a sustainable energy-efficient economy.


PAMELA THOMAS, the Caribbean Farmers' Network, speaking on behalf of the farmers major group, said that investment in agriculture had declined for several years across many small island developing States, particularly those in the Caribbean region.  After the food-price crisis of 2008, Governments, donors and institutions had made agriculture a priority.  However, climate change impacts, such as flooding, drought and higher temperatures, had affected agricultural production and the livelihood of farmers across small island developing States.  Those countries must develop and design support mechanisms and infrastructure that facilitated the setting up of climate smart farms, thereby creating a more sustainable agricultural sector and advancing Caribbean food security.  That would mean engaging in partnership agreements, dialogues and adaptive strategies to lessen the yield losses and avert food insecurity in the region.


KLAUS STUNZNER, the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization, speaking on behalf of the business and industry major group, said that prior to the Conference, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, the Government and the United Nations Office of the High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States had convened a private-sector partnerships forum.  Some 400 participants from various sectors had focused on seven thematic areas: oceans and marine resources; connectivity; sustainable agriculture; sustainable tourism; disaster risk reduction; renewable energy; and financing and support measures for the SIDS private sector.  Approximately 20 concrete partnerships, initiatives and recommendations had been announced, and a SIDS global network had been established.  The industry welcomed the Conference outcome, particularly the section on sustained and sustainable inclusive and equitable economic growth with decent work for all.


DANIELE VIOLETTI, the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said the world had become cognizant of the challenges in keeping the rise in global temperature to less than 2°C, and to tackle climate change, it was necessary to achieve climate neutrality by balancing carbon emissions with an equal amount sequestered of offset.  National policies must move every country towards reducing emissions and supporting a new climate agreement.  For that to happen, business must be on board.  Investment and industry must wake up to the fact that action on climate change was needed, that renewable energy and energy efficiency were wise investments and that green bonds were safer for investors in the long term.  The public must join the solution as businesses and Governments could not act alone.  Tokelau was the first country run completely on renewable energy.  So many countries during the Conference had announced similar ambitious targets and island States were taking the lead in that regard through partnerships to show that a climate-safe future was a prosperous future.


LUCINDA LONGCROFT, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said her agency was mandated to promote and develop a balanced international intellectual property system for the cultural, economic and social development of all countries.  WIPO, with its 187 member States, supported capacity-development at the national level and efforts to use intellectual property as a tool towards meeting national development policy goals.  The agency was committed to helping small island developing States use their wealth of cultural and innovative resources to meet their development challenges and goals, and she noted that its partnerships in those States took many forms both in cultural and technological sectors.

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