The world's small island nations are set to begin tomorrow three days of talks at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) to help focus attention on their struggles, including their fragile ecosystems, isolation and economic dependency on just a few export commodities.
The small islands meeting - where the States will have the chance to present their situation to the rest of the world and seek help for tackling key challenges - will open this year's 12th session of the CSD, which is being held at UN Headquarters in New York.
Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, will address this week’s meeting.
The session will serve as a preparatory meeting for a five-day conference in Mauritius, beginning 30 August, that will review what progress has been made on the programme of action approved at a previous conference in 1994 in Barbados on the sustainable development of small island developing States (SIDS).
The Barbados Programme of Action focused on such issues as climate change, tourism, natural disasters, waste, energy and transport. The Mauritius meeting is expected to also examine trade, HIV/AIDS, information technology and security concerns.
In a recent report, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said progress since the Barbados meeting has been mixed, with many of the 40-plus SIDS facing major challenges in eradicating poverty, dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and coping with the effect on tourism of security concerns.