United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

18 September 1996



General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Item 99 (d) of the provisional agenda*

*    A/51/150.


                  Action taken at the international, regional and
                  national levels to implement the Programme of
                  Action for the Sustainable Development of Small
                           Island Developing States

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION ..........................................    1 - 4    3


      A. Initial review of the Programme of Action by the
         Commission on Sustainable Development .............        5     4

      B. Implementation by organs and bodies of the United
         Nations system ....................................      6 - 34  4

III.  IMPLEMENTATION AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL ..................    35 - 46  12

      A. The African region ................................     36 - 38  12

      B. The Caribbean region ..............................     39 - 42  12

      C. The Asia and Pacific region .......................     43 - 46  13

IV.   PROGRESS IN NATIONAL IMPLEMENTATION ...................    47 - 62  14

      A. The African region ................................     48 - 51  14

      B. The Caribbean region ..............................     52 - 55  15

      C. The Asia and Pacific region .......................     56 - 61  16

      D. The Mediterranean .................................        62    18

 V.   CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .......................    63 - 67  18

      A. Conclusions .......................................     63 - 65  18

      B. Recommendations for future action .................     66 - 67  19


 I.   List of small island developing States or areas ..................  20

II.   List of organizations and Governments that responded to the 
      request for inputs to the present report .........................  21

                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   At its fiftieth session, the General Assembly adopted resolution 50/116,
in which, inter alia, it called on Governments, as well as organs,
organizations and bodies of the United Nations system, and other relevant
organizations, to pursue effective follow-up and implementation of the
Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing
States. 1/  The Assembly also invited the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) to continue to implement all the provisions of the technical assistance
programme (SIDSTAP) and the information network for small island developing
States (SIDSNET); requested the United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD), in collaboration with the Department for Policy
Coordination and Sustainable Development of the United Nations Secretariat, to
finalize plans for convening a high-level panel on external trade of island
developing countries; and requested the Secretary-General to make provision
for the development of a vulnerability index for small island developing
States.  The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to report to it at
its fifty-first session on action taken to implement the resolution; the
present report has been prepared in response to that request.

2.   The text of the present report will be posted on the Department's web
site at http://www.un.org/DPCSD.  Interested United Nations and non-United
Nations organizations are invited to contribute information, on a continuous
basis, on their initiatives to implement the Programme of Action.

Methodology and structure

3.   In the preparation of the present report, the deliberations and
decisions of the Commission on Sustainable Development during its initial
review of the Programme of Action at its fourth session in 1996 were of
considerable relevance.  In addition, organs, organizations and bodies of the
United Nations system, including relevant regional commissions, were
approached for submission of updated accounts of activities undertaken in the
context of the Programme of Action.  A number of those organizations
responded, providing brief reports of activities initiated since June 1995;
their submissions served as the sole source of information on their activities
for that period.  The present report does not repeat information on activities
of the United Nations system presented in the previous report of the
Secretary-General (A/50/422 and Add.1).

4.   Unlike previous reports to the General Assembly on action taken to
implement the Programme of Action, the present report includes information on
activities undertaken at the regional level under the Programme of Action by
non-United Nations intergovernmental regional bodies and by the Governments of
a number of small island developing States at the national level.


A.  Initial review of the Programme of Action by the
    Commission on Sustainable Development           

5.   At its fourth session, in 1996, the Commission on Sustainable
Development undertook an initial review of the Programme of Action, in keeping
with its  decision at its third session held in 1995.  The review focused on
the following thematic areas:  coastal area management; tourism resources; air
transport; telecommunication development; natural and environmental disasters;
energy resources; maritime transport; and trade-related issues of small island
developing States.  The outcome of the review is contained in decision 4/16 of
the Commission. 2/

B.  Implementation by organs and bodies of the United Nations system          

6.   Together with the Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development
(IACSD) task managers and UNCTAD, the Department provided substantive support
to the Commission at its fourth session to facilitate its review of the
implementation of the Programme of Action.  In response to General Assembly
resolution 50/116, the Department has also included in its work programme for
the year 1996/97 the development of a vulnerability index for small island
developing States and the exploration of modalities for mobilizing resources
to implement the Programme of Action.

7.   An account of the activities undertaken by other organs, organizations
and bodies of the United Nations system in the respective programme areas
since mid-1995 is set out below.

                     1.  Climate change and sea level rise

8.   The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has reported the
commencement of projects on the impacts of climate change in Antigua and
Barbuda, and on the strengthening of the tide gauge network for the Global
Oceanic Observation System (GLOSS) among Caribbean small island developing
States to provide information on sea level rise.  It has completed a numerical
model to assess the socio-economic impacts of climate change and sea level
rise in small island developing States.  The organization has continued its
assistance to small island developing States in dealing with the phenomenon
through studies on the impacts of climate change.  The period under review
also marked the completion by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
(Habitat), in collaboration with UNEP, of an overview of the impact of climate
change on coastal populations and human settlements.  Habitat is currently
planning a training programme on capacity-building for settlements planning
and sea level rise in small island developing States.

                    2.  Natural and environmental disasters

9.   Several new actions have been reported under this priority area in the
past year.  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations
Secretariat, in particular the secretariat of the International Decade for
Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR), provided inputs to the report of the
Secretary-General considered by the Commission at its fourth session, and
prepared the addendum to that report on natural and environmental disasters in
small island developing States.  In the area of disaster relief, the
Department responded to two disasters in Caribbean small island developing
States caused by hurricane Luis and a volcanic activity.  The Department was
successful in mobilizing resources in cash and kind from the international
community in addressing the most urgent needs.  IDNDR activities in the
Pacific region included convening the Fourth IDNDR Pacific Regional Disaster
Reduction meeting; finalization and printing of disaster management plans for
four countries; preparation of draft guidelines for disaster mitigation,
public awareness, and education and information management; continuation of
regional training courses; preparation of country work programmes; and
initiation of pilot projects in applied disaster reduction in Fiji and the
Cook Islands.

10.  UNEP has adapted its Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local
Level (APELL) process for application to port areas.  Habitat has extended by
three years its support programme to the Caribbean on settlements planning and
related environmental management; has completed a proposal for a disaster
rehabilitation project for a number of Caribbean small island developing
States, in collaboration with UNDP; and is planning the establishment of a
Caribbean construction training programme.  A number of interventions were
made by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) following natural
disasters in small island developing States, which were targeted at Antigua
and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Dominica, following hurricane destruction, and at
Papua New Guinea, following floods, landslides and volcanic eruption.

11.  Under the Tropical Cyclone Programme of the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO), the following events have been organized that either
concentrate only on small island developing States or include them:  a
workshop on tropical cyclone forecasting and warning for the South-West Indian
Ocean region; a joint seminar on meteorological and hydrological risk
assessment for Asia; a hurricane conference for the Caribbean; and a training
course on tropical meteorology and tropical cyclone forecasting.  In addition,
the Nadi Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Fiji has been designated a WMO
regional specialized meteorological centre since June 1995.  A satellite-based
system in the Caribbean came into operation in April 1996, replacing the
former terrestrial communications links.  WMO has also provided assistance,
through its public weather services programme, in the form of:  (a) the
publication of a guide on public weather services practices; (b) an expert
meeting on public weather services and hurricane disaster preparedness, held
in Trinidad and Tobago in December 1995; and (c) a training workshop on
effective communication techniques and media relations for the Caribbean and
the Americas, held in Costa Rica in May 1996.  The Intergovernmental
Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization has set up the International Tsunami Warning System,
which provides for the dissemination of tsunami watches, warnings and advisory
bulletins to member States throughout the Pacific.

                           3.  Management of wastes

12.  Under this programme area, Habitat is currently implementing projects
covering settlements and infrastructure improvements, sanitation, waste-water
treatment and solid waste management in Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall
Islands in the Pacific, and Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in
the Caribbean.  A workshop on environmental management, focusing on solid
waste management and water quality conservation, is planned by UNEP for 1996
for Asia and Pacific small island developing States.  The World Bank recently
published a paper entitled "Marine outfall", in which the experience of a
number of small island developing States was used as examples of the need to
improve waste- water treatment and disposal.

                       4.  Coastal and marine resources

13.  UNEP has reported the following activities:  completion of a coastal
profile for Grand Comoros; convening of an International Coral Reef Initiative
workshop in Seychelles; launching of integrated coastal area management pilot
projects in the Dominican Republic, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines, with another planned for the Comoros; preparation of a protocol
for land-based sources of marine pollution for the Caribbean; and the
strengthening of International Environmental Information System (INFOTERRA)
national focal points.  The World Bank provided tangible support for a series
of international coral reef management workshops convened in a number of small
island developing States.  The Bank is committed to providing support for the
participation of small island developing States from the Indian Ocean and East
African region in the forthcoming High-Level Intergovernmental Conference on
Follow-up to the Arusha Resolution in Support of Integrated Coastal Zone
Management, scheduled to be held in Seychelles in October 1996.

14.  The Twenty-Eighth General Conference of UNESCO, held in October and
November 1995, adopted as part of its medium-term strategy the six-year
multi-disciplinary project entitled "Environment and development in coastal
regions and small islands" (CSI).  A number of pilot projects are being
launched, and some existing projects, particularly in the Caribbean, are being
reoriented to address a variety of coastal problems under the rubric of CSI. 
A draft programme document is being finalized by the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the establishment of a fisheries
technical assistance programme for small island developing States focusing on
institutional strengthening and capacity-building, conservation and management
of exclusive economic zone (EEZ) fisheries and improved post-harvest
management and marketing.

                           5.  Freshwater resources

15.  Among the activities planned in this area are the publication in 1996 by
UNEP of Sourcebook on Alternative Technologies for Augmenting Freshwater
Resources in Small Island Developing States; various UNICEF projects in Haiti,
Sao Tome and Principe, and Cape Verde for increasing access to drinking water
and sanitation facilities; an International Research and Training Institute
for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) colloquium on women's relationship to
water supply and usage in the Dominican Republic; and a regional training
seminar in water resources management for island countries of the Caribbean by
the World Bank.  INSTRAW and UNICEF jointly convened a workshop on the theme
"Women, water and environmental sanitation" during the Fourth World Conference
on Women (Beijing, 4-15 September 1995).

16.  Other activities reported in this area include the preparation of a
Latin America and Caribbean water resources assessment and management action
plan by a WMO/Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) conference on water
resources assessment and management strategies for Latin America and the
Caribbean (May 1996); the proposed implementation of a Caribbean hydrological
observation system for countries of the Caribbean Basin by WMO and the World
Bank; and the development by UNESCO of a CSI pilot project in Kiribati, Tonga
and Solomon Islands, addressing freshwater resource management as an integral
part of sustainable development.

                              6.  Land resources

17.  In this area, Habitat has expanded its programme on human settlements
and related environmental management issues in the Caribbean, in collaboration
with the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) and UNDP.  In addition, it is collaborating with the
Caribbean Development Bank and UNEP in formulating integrated settlements and
coastal zone management plans in Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

                             7.  Energy resources

18.  Under this programme area, UNEP has reported that it is providing
assistance and information to small island developing States on energy
policies and technologies through its Collaborating Centre on Energy and

                             8.  Tourism resources

19.  UNEP has completed information on environmental codes of conduct for
tourism, for dissemination to tourism boards, travel agents and tour
operators, and inclusion in environmental action packs for hotels. 
UNEP/United States Agency for International Development (USAID) pilot case
studies on the impacts of tourism activities on coastal and marine resources
will be conducted in the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Saint Vincent and the
Grenadines.  In collaboration with the World Tourism Organization and a
European non-governmental organization, UNEP is also developing award schemes
to recognize environmentally sound management of coastal tourist areas and to
promote eco-labelling.  Other activities being undertaken by the organization
in cooperation with the tourism industry associations include the preparation
of a booklet on environmentally sound technologies for hotels, the development
of a curriculum for use in hotel and tourism professional schools, and the
preparation of a case study booklet on successful examples in sustainable

20.  With a view to increasing the representation of Caribbean small island
developing States in UNESCO's Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage sites, a
World Heritage promotion seminar was held in Saint Kitts and Nevis in
March 1996.  A regional seminar on cultural tourism was held in Papua New
Guinea in December 1995, within the framework of UNESCO's proposed Vaka Moana
ocean world programme in the Pacific; the seminar brought together experts
from Pacific island States to discuss issues related to the impact of tourism
on culture and the environment.

                          9.  Biodiversity resources

21.  In January 1996, UNESCO launched an interregional project entitled
"Integrated biodiversity strategies for island and coastal areas" with the aim
of assisting in the formulation of integrated biodiversity strategies for
interregional cooperation between coastal States and islands, and to promote
implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The World Bank has
prepared a draft operational programme for marine protected areas for
potential funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under its
biodiversity focal area.  The draft programme, if approved for funding, will
benefit many small island developing States through the provision of critical
support for the establishment and management of such areas.  UNEP has produced
technical documents on the features of biodiversity in small island developing
States using geographical information systems (GIS) databases, and is
currently assisting the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Seychelles,
Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in developing national biodiversity action plans
using GEF resources.

            10.  National institutions and administrative capacity

22.  UNEP has provided assistance to Kiribati for the finalization of a
framework for environmental law, and will conduct later in 1996 a needs
assessment for Vanuatu.  It is currently studying requests for assistance in
drafting environmental legislation for the Cook Islands and Tuvalu.  As part
of its technical cooperation programme, Habitat is supporting several small
island developing States in the South Pacific and the Caribbean in building
institutional capacity for formulating land-use and settlements development
plans, development control and the application of management information
systems.  The Department of Humanitarian Affairs/UNDP Disaster Management
Training Programme is focusing principally on national capacity-building for
disaster reduction and management.  During the reporting period, national
training exercises were conducted in Papua New Guinea, Cuba and member States
of the Indian Ocean Commission.  Follow-up activities have been initiated at
the national and regional levels after completion of earlier workshops, and
include the development of a country action plan for Papua New Guinea.  A
second phase of national activities has also been initiated for States of the
Eastern Caribbean under this programme.

23.  UNDP has continued its work in finalizing SIDSTAP, particularly in the
assessment of priority gaps in technical cooperation under the Programme of
Action in the African and Caribbean regions.  For the former, a draft report
on the assessment-cum-formulation exercises has been prepared and will be
distributed shortly.  One objective of the exercise is to seek concurrence on
priority needs and subsequently to provide assistance for resource
mobilization at the national, regional and international levels.

24.  The first volume of the Directory of Institutions and Experts in Small
Island Developing States, which has been prepared by UNDP, has been published,
with work on the second volume nearing completion.  Updating of the SIDSNET
feasibility study has been completed and consultations have been conducted
with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) group in New York on its
further development.  The United Nations University (UNU) has reported the
launching, in June 1995, of its Internet-based Small Islands Network (SIN),
designed to strengthen and link research, training and dissemination
activities among small island developing States.  UNU is considering plans for
undertaking a joint project with the UNDP Sustainable Development Network to
promote access to information in remote islands in the South Pacific.  In
March and October 1995, UNU organized two international symposia in Tokyo, on
the themes "Small islands and sustainable development" and "Multimedia and
human resource development".

25.  Several training programmes and other projects aimed at enhancing
national capacity in international trade have been conducted by the
International Trade Centre (UNCTAD/World Trade Organization), including
improvement of import management for Pacific Island countries, which became
operational in January 1996; a pre-programming mission to Haiti in September
1995 to identify export/import technical cooperation needs; a trade programme
support mission to Jamaica in September 1995; and a series of dissemination
seminars and workshops held in the Caribbean between January and July 1996, on
the theme "Business guide to the Uruguay Round".  Two similar business guide
seminars were also held in the Pacific in June 1996.  Under the WMO Education
and Training Programme, six fellowships were provided for the training of
small island developing States participants during the latter part of 1995. 
INSTRAW, in collaboration with other institutions, prepared a training package
on the theme "Women, environmental management and sustainable development". 

             11.  Regional institutions and technical cooperation

26.  The UNDP Pacific subregional office is in the process of preparing a
Pacific subregional programme.  A dialogue on its implementation has begun
between its Special Unit for Technical Cooperation Among Developing Countries
and the three major intergovernmental bodies of the subregion, namely, the
South Pacific Forum (SPF), the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme
(SPREP) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP) Pacific Operations Centre.

27.  UNEP is serving as a regional contact point for the International Coral
Relief Initiative in the Caribbean.  In the African region, the Committee on
Island Ecosystems has been established by the African Ministerial Conference
on the Environment, with the involvement of UNEP.

28.  FAO has established subregional offices for the Pacific (Samoa) and the
Caribbean (Barbados) aimed at intensifying partnerships with regional
institutions.  At a meeting on technical consultations held in Apia, Samoa in
May 1996, FAO also developed the Subregional Programme for Sustainable
Development in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the Pacific.  Similar
technical consultations for the Caribbean are scheduled for 1997.

29.  In late 1995, the United Nations International Drug Control Programme
(UNDCP) launched a three-year project to support training by the South Pacific
Forum secretariat for the enforcement of drug laws.  In the Caribbean, a plan
of action was adopted by a high-level meeting held in May 1996, focusing on
drug controls, demand reduction, legislation, law enforcement and maritime
cooperation.  The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) field office in
Jamaica convened a subregional meeting of government and non-governmental
organization partners in February/March 1996 to review post-International
Conference on Population and Development initiatives and needs and to develop
a new subregional programme.  

                       12.  Transport and communication

30.  As task manager for maritime transport, UNCTAD prepared a report
entitled "Maritime transport in small island developing States" which was
considered by the Commission on Sustainable Development at its fourth session,
in 1996.  The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) prepared a
report on air transport.  In addition, ICAO evaluated a study on Pacific
airports for the Asian Development Bank, and formulated a flight safety
cooperation project for South Pacific States at a meeting held in Vanuatu in
November 1995.  An ICAO planning mission to Cape Verde in November/December
1995 led to the development of a project document and various project
guidelines.  In Haiti, ICAO is implementing a project for developing a civil
aviation legal code and for familiarizing air traffic controllers with high-
density traffic procedures.

31.  In addition to its contribution to the Commission's review of the
Programme of Action in 1996, the International Telecommunication Union
initiated a number of projects in small island developing States, including
the establishment of a regional satellite news network in the Caribbean,
funding of a workshop in Grenada in 1996 and provision of training courses and
fellowships for the region.  In the Pacific, the second stage of a project on
costing tariffing models in Papua New Guinea, as well as a radio and
television master plan for Fiji, were completed in 1996.  A study on the
expansion of telecommunication services to outer islands was completed for
Kiribati, and a study on rural telecommunication development is under way for
Solomon Islands.  In Africa, the organization provided assistance on tariff
matters to Cape Verde.  UNESCO provided equipment to national broadcasting
systems for small island developing States in the Caribbean, trained news and
information personnel, and coordinated community media projects.

                          13.  Science and technology

32.  UNEP is currently operating a network of cleaner production centres for
exchange of information and experience at the international and national
levels; one such centre has been established in Malta.  Through its INFOTERRA
focal point networks in Fiji, Samoa, Maldives and the Caribbean small island
developing States, UNEP is supporting the exchange of environmental
information services among those countries.  Habitat is making available to
small island developing States, as part of its operational activities,
technical instruments for land-use and settlements planning, and GIS and
visual information systems for settlements planning. 

                        14.  Human resource development

33.  In Maldives, UNICEF provided support for on-site teacher training and
the development of an accreditation system for in-service training.  The
organization assisted Cape Verde in conducting a survey aimed at improving
educational quality and a study to determine the need for school meals and
supplies.  It also assisted in mounting a special education pilot project for
handicapped children.  UNICEF and UNESCO collaborated to support the
implementation of an education reform strategy for OECS countries in the
Caribbean.  UNICEF also presented recommendations on education reform to the
Government of Barbados, and supported the development and validation of
didactic guides for elementary schools in Dominica.

                           15.  Vulnerability index

34.  Several organizations have undertaken work on this issue, some of it
prior to the Global Conference.  For example, UNCTAD and CARICOM commissioned
studies in 1992 and 1993, respectively, that have resulted in a seminal
literature. 3/  More recently, in 1996 the Commonwealth secretariat
commissioned a study (not yet published) on the measurement of the
vulnerability of small States.  ESCAP has also begun work on a vulnerability
index, particularly for Pacific small island developing States.  The emerging
body of work addresses issues of economic vulnerability, including
vulnerability arising from environmental fragility; the incidence of natural
disasters on a national scale; smallness; and distance from markets.  Issues
of economic vulnerability are also addressed in the work of the Committee for
Development Planning on criteria for the identification of least developed
countries.  A working group of the Committee is scheduled to meet from 13 to
15 January 1997 to review the list of least developed countries and consider
possible improvements in the criteria for identifying them, as provided for in
General Assembly resolution 46/206.  Several Committee members have expressed
interest in the issue of a vulnerability index for small island developing
States.  The Department for Policy Coordination on Sustainable Development has
planned to convene in 1996/97 an expert group on a vulnerability index, in
collaboration with UNCTAD and other relevant organizations, as requested in
General Assembly resolution 50/116.


35.  The present section of the report gives an account of implementation at
the regional level.  It focuses on the main small island developing States
regions for which current data is available, specifically on the activities of
the regional commissions and other regional intergovernmental bodies.

                            A.  The African region

36.  The Economic Commission for Africa has reported that its activities and
programmes for implementation of the Programme of Action have continued as
reflected in the previous report of the Secretary-General (A/50/422 and
Add.1).  Those programmes were initiated jointly with UNDP.

37.  The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is currently in the process of
implementing a regional environment programme, entitled "Appui aux programme
environnementaux dans les pays de la COI".  The objective of the programme is
to provide support to national policies for integrated management of coastal
areas, and it is being funded under the financial and technical cooperation
provisions of the Lome' IV Convention between the European Community (EC) and
the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States.  The regional programme
focuses on the following five areas:  elimination and management of solid
wastes; elimination and management of liquid wastes; hydrocarbon pollution;
air pollution; and water pollution by toxic wastes.

38.  Under the Lome' IV Convention, the EC has also provided assistance to
Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe as part of its regional programmes for
West and Central Africa, respectively.  Assistance to Cape Verde has
concentrated on development of the capital, Praia, and on electricity,
drinking water supplies and health care, while assistance to Sao Tome and
Principe has supported fisheries development, the protection of forest
ecosystems and the revamping of economic infrastructures.  In Mauritius and
Seychelles, EC resources have been directed to environmental protection and
management, and coastal area management for the tourism industry.

                           B.  The Caribbean region

39.  The subregional headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin
America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for the Caribbean has directed some of its
efforts in the reporting period to a number of publications dealing with
matters relevant to small island developing States of that subregion.  In
addition, a programme of implementation and the necessary institutional
mechanisms are in the process of being finalized to facilitate coordination
and implementation at the regional level.  The proposed structure will include
the establishment of a joint coordinating unit and a regional consultative
group, while the work programme will emphasize capacity-building, information
management, public awareness and financing.

40.  The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), operating as the regional
office for the World Health Organization (WHO), provides assistance to
Caribbean small island developing States in the context of the "Caribbean
cooperation for health" plan.  The specific actions pursued under the plan are
in the area of water supply and sanitation, solid waste management, disaster
preparedness and response, health services and environmental management.  A
five-year operational plan has been developed as part of the OECS strategy for
sustainable development; the plan centres on the concept of island systems
management, and will address resource management priorities identified by the
Eastern Caribbean States.

41.  The Caribbean will also benefit from a GEF-financed project entitled
"Caribbean:  planning for adaptation to global climate change".  The project
was developed and will be managed by the Organization of American States (OAS)
as executing agency for the World Bank, with start-up scheduled for
September 1996.  The project will assist Governments and regional institutions
in strengthening capability for monitoring and analysing climate and sea level
trends; identify areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea
level rise; develop an integrated management and planning framework; enhance
regional and national capabilities through human resource development and
institutional strengthening; identify and assess policy operations and
instruments; and collect information for preparing national communications. 
OAS has also continued the implementation of a five-year Caribbean disaster
mitigation project funded by USAID.

42.  EC support has targeted tourism development, trade promotion,
infrastructure development, and capacity-building at the national and regional
levels.  Environmental awareness-building through education and training
programmes, institution-strengthening and the development of information
systems are expected to benefit from EC regional allocations under the seventh
European Development Fund.

                        C.  The Asia and Pacific region

43.  ESCAP has reported the convening in November 1995 of the Ministerial
Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific.  Among
other things, the Conference considered actions to achieve the objectives of
the Programme of Action.  Inputs from Pacific island countries for the
Conference were generated through a preparatory meeting held in Port Vila,
Vanuatu, organized by the ESCAP Pacific Operation Centre (ESCAP/POC).

44.  Other initiatives undertaken by ESCAP were the preparation of a case
study on the incorporation of sustainable development considerations into
economic decision-making for Solomon Islands and Vanuatu; the preparation of a
state-of-the-environment report for Pacific island countries; the organization
of several training courses, and the convening of workshops and seminars on
trade and investment, tourism, statistics, remote sensing and GIS and other
aspects of sustainable development; the publication of manuals and guidelines
on hazardous waste management and sustainable tourism development; and the
provision of technical assistance and advisory services.  Progress has also
been made in the development of sustainable development indicators, beginning
with data collection in the economic sphere.  Efforts are under way to develop
a vulnerability index for Pacific small island developing States.  Trial
computations have been made for some countries, using selected indicators.

45.  EC support to the Pacific, at the regional level, is being provided
through SPREP for the protection of biodiversity, coastal zone management and
solid waste management.  EC assistance has also been provided for sustainable
tourism development, fisheries surveillance, and tuna resource assessment.

46.  SPREP has reported convening jointly with ESCAP/POC, in October 1995,
the first meeting of its Advisory Committee to coordinate and facilitate
implementation of the Programme of Action.  The SPREP has updated specific
regional initiatives in each of the 14 substantive programme areas, including
the convening of regional workshops and annual meetings of meteorological
service directors and climate scientists in the area of climate change.  A
strategy for the protection of the marine environment in the Pacific region
has been developed through the collaboration of SPREP, the South Pacific Forum
secretariat and a number of bilateral and multilateral agencies;
implementation of the strategy is expected to commence in the course of 1996. 
Implementation of the Regional Waste Minimization and Management and Pollution
Prevention Programme has recently begun; SPREP is acting as coordinator of the
Programme.  In the area of management of waste, several training workshops in
marine pollution assessment have been held, and a regional programme of
targeted waste awareness and education campaigns, to be executed by SPREP,
will commence soon.  


47.  The present section of the report summarizes information on action taken
at the national level to implement the provisions of the Programme of Action. 
Information on national action was received from 12 small island developing
States Governments (see list in annex II).  That information was supplemented
by information made available by the United Nations and non-United Nations
regional organizations.

                            A.  The African region

48.  In the Atlantic, the Government of Sao Tome' and Principe is reportedly
collaborating with European bilateral agencies and non-governmental
organizations in national projects for forestry and environmental protection. 
The Government has instituted a requirement that investors should report on
the environmental impact of their activities.

49.  In Cape Verde, activities appear to be focused on the implementation of
a long-term tourism development plan that envisages broad improvements in the
physical infrastructure of the country, particularly its capital, along with
the enactment of appropriate legislation, the establishment of a tourism
development fund and improvement in tourism statistical data collection. 
Implementation of the plan is heavily dependent on funding by bilateral and
multilateral sources.

50.  In the Indian Ocean, the Government of Comoros has adopted a national
environment policy document and an environmental plan of action, which
together provide the basis for sustainable development and natural resource
utilization policies.  A large project for the preservation of biodiversity,
to be financed by GEF, has been formulated for approval and implementation. 
The Government of Mauritius has also embarked on plans and programmes aimed at
ensuring sustainable utilization of the country's resources for development. 
A major focus is on monitoring and controlling developments in the coastal
areas.  Planning controls are being strengthened to ensure that standards for
new developments are adhered to, including restrictions on building height,
size, location and use of materials.  Laws have been enacted to provide for
the issuing of development certificates, which include significant tax
exemption and other incentives for compliance.  Plans for the construction of
hotels are now required to include sewerage treatment facilities as a
compulsory element, and the regulation of yachting is to be addressed in
legislation currently under consideration.

51.  Since the adoption in September 1994 of legislation requiring the
conduct of environmental impact assessments for all projects, the Government
of Seychelles has directed its efforts at strengthening the regulatory
framework for giving effect to the legislation.  Meetings were held in
December 1995 and March 1996 to discuss the application of the legislation in
specific locations, especially sensitive areas.  The training of staff in
various aspects of the regulations is under way.  Specific field activities
have been reported, with programmes in pollution control and monitoring; waste
management; water resources management; energy policy and conservation; forest
management; and marine resources management.  In the area of waste management,
the Government recently expressed its interest in attracting private
investment in developing a solid waste treatment scheme for Mahe, under a
build-own-operate-transfer formula.  In the area of energy, the Government
hopes to secure adequate funding through the United Nations Industrial
Development Organization (UNIDO) for implementing an energy conservation and
efficiency programme that was designed in 1988 but was never fully implemented
because of lack of financing.  The current requirement is for US$ 250,000 in
assistance to revise, implement and monitor a downscaled version of the

                           B.  The Caribbean region

52.  A number of legislative actions have been taken by the Government of
Barbados.  An environmental levy has been introduced to defray the cost of
disposal of refuse generated by imported goods.  Town and country planning
legislation has been amended effective January 1996, making mandatory the
provision of water-storage tanks by certain categories of residential,
commercial, industrial and other buildings.  Also, a final draft of a national
building code for Barbados has been completed, and a draft bill on coastal
zone management has been prepared by the Government.  The bill aims at further
strengthening regulations for coastal zone development, and will include a
coastal zone management plan and a guide to coastal activities.  Consideration
is being given to the establishment of a Barbados building authority, with
responsibility for implementing the national building code.  Technical and
professional staff have been added to strengthen the relevant government
ministry dealing with the environment.

53.  Other current activities include the ongoing clean-up of beaches and the
launching of a community care project with the theme "Our earth, our habitat,
our home".  A national project, entitled "Environmental management and land-
use planning for sustainable development", will commence shortly, and several
sectoral projects are at various stages of preparation.

54.  In view of the importance of tourism to the Bahamas, the Government of
the Bahamas has centred much of its activities on the development of
eco-tourism resources, in particular the development and conservation of the
resources of its outer islands.  It has initiated a project that will include
a review of the country's natural resource base; the identification and
promulgation of necessary legislation; capacity-building and institutional
strengthening; water resource use and waste-water operations; public
awareness; and the development of data banks.  In Saint Lucia, the conduct of
environmental impact assessments has been made mandatory for all investments
with the review and updating of the Developmental Control Act.  The country's
Water and Sewerage Authority Act has also been revised, resulting in the
introduction of tariffs for water use.  Various other projects are either in
place or under review by the Government, including the rehabilitation of
sewage treatment and collection, and a coastal zone development project for
the island's north-western corridor.

55.  The Government of Cuba is in the process of reviewing existing
environmental legislation with a view to elaborating a new framework
legislation for the environment.  A number of changes are already in progress,
including the systematic development of technical norms; the passage of
legislation in 1995, requiring mandatory environmental impact assessments for
a number of economic activities in coastal areas, particularly in tourism; the
approval of mining and external investment laws in 1994/95; and the
preparation of legislation for coastal areas.  A number of fiscal measures
have also been instituted, including the introduction in August 1994 of an
environmental tax covering the use and exploitation of all natural resources,
and the development of a system of economic incentives for marine
environmental protection.  Additional instruments are being considered in the
context of a proposed new law of taxes.  The Government has reported much
progress in the collection, reuse and recycling of certain industrial wastes,
such as paper, cardboard, metals, glass, plastics, tyres, waste oil and
lubricating grease.  The establishment of a national centre for biodiversity
and a biological security group are among the institutional arrangements put
in place by the Government of Cuba to oversee the conservation of
biodiversity.  The Government reported that due to the current economic crisis
facing the country and the effects of a trade embargo maintained by the
Government of the United States of America, progress in realizing its goals is
severely constrained by the lack of finance and appropriate technology.

                        C.  The Asia and Pacific region

56.  Samoa has reported slow progress in the implementation of its national
environmental management strategy in a number of areas, including data
collection and national reporting.  The main hindrance to progress has been
the lack of institutional and human resource capacity.  However, four priority
target environment components are being developed under the strategy's
Capacity 21 programme, namely, waste management, population issues, water
supply and land use.  In 1995, a Montreal Protocol task team involving 12
government departments was established, and has begun work on developing
policies and methods to gradually phase out the use of ozone-depleting
substances.  A draft country programme is being prepared and funding
assistance is being awaited from the Montreal Protocol secretariat.  A
national biodiversity policy committee was formed in December 1995, in keeping
with the country's obligation under the Convention on Biological Diversity.  A
draft document on Samoa's biodiversity conservation strategy is being
finalized for implementation and a number of conservation areas are in the
process of being established.  In the area of climate change, two national
workshops have been held and studies have been undertaken on greenhouse gas
sources and sinks.  Funding has been received through GEF to assist in meeting
national reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention
on Climate Change.  Workshops and programmes on assessing sea level rise
activities, vulnerability and adaptation are continuing.  In addition,
programmes have been developed for water resource management, mangrove
conservation and conservation of land resources.

57.  Fiji has developed a preparedness plan for oil and chemical spills, but
other countries in the Asia and Pacific region remain unprepared for such
eventualities.  Little has been done to develop national strategies for
adaptation to climate change, although it is expected that the foundation for
such strategies will emerge from ongoing work on vulnerability to climate

58.  Samoa has instituted a deposit/refund system for beverage bottles, while
Micronesia has taken similar action on aluminum cans.  Biological toilets are
being tried out in Micronesia, Kiribati and Palau.  All the Pacific small
island developing States, however, suffer from an acute lack of port
facilities for ship-borne waste, mainly due to limited financial and other
resources.  Similar limitations account also for the absence, in almost all
cases, of programmes to promote community participation and raise public
awareness in the area of waste management or environmental conservation in the
Pacific.  Only Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Kiribati have reported progress in
implementing integrated coastal area management plans.  The lack of data
throughout the region for monitoring coastal area management further inhibits
progress.  The widespread lack of trained personnel, technical equipment and
appropriate data on water resources has also meant limited progress in the
area of freshwater resources, as well as in land resources.

59.  The Government of Maldives has established a task force, which began
work in 1996, to review current national legislation on environmental
management and examine the adequacy of the country's legislative and
institutional frameworks.  The Government has established a number of
programmes to address beach erosion, and has started a programme of harbour-
deepening using innovative methods.  In 1995, 15 sites were designated as
protected areas under the National Environment Protection Act, but is felt
that there is need for more detailed studies on the country's marine ecosystem
before designating additional sites as protected areas.

60.  Other initiatives embarked on by Maldives include consultations for
preparation of the national Agenda 21 report, begun in December 1995; a
million tree programme, initiated in January 1996; an integrated reef
resources management programme, and an enabling activity (capacity-building)
initiative, with anticipated financing by GEF.

61.  The Government of the Marshall Islands has reported that a number of
legislative actions have been put in place requiring the conduct of
environmental impact assessments for new projects, as well as for general
environmental improvements.  However, most of those regulations are not
observed, mainly due to a lack of resources, both financial and technical, for
their enforcement:  the shortage of properly trained personnel for undertaking
the preparation and review of environmental impact assessments and managing
disease identification and control techniques among immigration officials has
been identified as a most acute need.  Waste management and disposal is
another area of great concern for the authorities, given the rapid population
growth rate, coupled with the development of the tourism sector and the
increased traffic in passenger cruise ships.  In order to address some of
those weaknesses at the national level the Government has begun to encourage
greater community participation in the development process, as well as a
greater utilization of traditional knowledge, skills and practices.

                             D.  The Mediterranean

62.  In Cyprus, national sustainable development efforts in recent years have
focused much on reorientation of policies and controls to ensure the long-term
protection of the environment and the incorporation of environmental
considerations in all economic and developmental activities.  The approach is
largely based on the recommendations of a major study by the World Bank,
which, among other things, gave rise to a series of studies on the use of
fiscal instruments for the promotion of environmental policy; a conservation
and management plan for the Akamas Peninsula; a coastal zone protection and
management plan; and hazardous waste management.


                                A.  Conclusions

63.  The organizations of the United Nations system have begun a number of
new initiatives to implement the Programme of Action since mid-1995.  Much of
the effort has been directed at strengthening institutional and human-resource
capacity, which is needed for the effective implementation of the Programme of
Action.  A number of initiatives have been taken in recent months,
particularly at the international and regional levels, to deal with the
consequences of climate change and sea level rise, signalling a growing
recognition of the critical nature of such phenomena for small island
developing States.  However, the deep concern about the critical nature of
these phenomena persists in small island developing States.  The high level of
activity at the regional level is especially notable:  the relevant regional
commissions, as well as several non-United Nations regional and subregional
intergovernmental bodies, are responding with new programmes and activities
aimed mainly at waste management, capacity-building, water and sanitation,
disaster preparedness and management of coastal areas.

64.  The limited information obtained from national sources shows that a
number of small island developing States have begun to implement parts of the
Programme of Action that have especially high priority at the national level,
including institution-building, particularly the strengthening of legislative
frameworks; waste management; coastal area management; and to a lesser extent,
the preservation of biodiversity.  In order to enable an adequate review of
action taken at the national level it will be important for small island
developing States' authorities, with the assistance of relevant international
organizations, as necessary, to provide information on all their major
activities under the Programme of Action.

65.  The cumulative record of implementation by the United Nations system
since the Global Conference indicates that insufficient attention is being
paid to some priority areas of the Programme of Action, in particular
transport and communications; tourism; energy; science and technology;
biodiversity resources; and climate change and sea level rise.

                     B.  Recommendations for future action

66.  The information contained in the present report supports the
recommendations for future action to implement the Programme of Action
contained in decision 4/16 of the Commission on Sustainable Development. 2/ 
The General Assembly may wish to endorse that decision.

67.  The General Assembly may also wish to request the Committee for
Development Planning to examine the report and recommendations of the expert
group meeting on a vulnerability index for small island developing States, to
be convened by the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable
Development, in collaboration with UNCTAD and other relevant organizations,
and may wish to request the Committee to make recommendations for
consideration at its fifty-third session.


     1/  Report of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of
Small Island Developing States, Bridgetown, Barbados, 25 April-6 June 1994
(United Nations publication, Sales No. 94.I.18), chap. I, resolution 1,
annex II.

     2/  See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1996,
Supplement No. 8 (E/1996/28), chap. IC.

     3/  See, for example, Lino Briguglio, "Small island developing States
and their economic vulnerabilities", World Development, vol. 23, No. 9 (1995),
pp. 1615-1632.

                                    Annex I
             List of small island developing States or areas


Cape Verde
Sao Tome and Principe 

     Western Asia


     Asia and the Pacific

Cook Islands 
Marshall Islands
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands



     The Caribbean

Antigua and Barbuda 
Dominican Republic 
Netherlands Antilles
Saint Lucia
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
United States Virgin Islands

                                   Annex II

             List of organizations and Governments that responded
                to the request for inputs to the present report

United Nations

Food and Agriculture Organization
International Atomic Energy Agency
International Civil Aviation Organization
International Telecommunication Union
International Trade Centre
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations International Drug Control Programme
Department of Humanitarian Affairs/International Decade for Natural Disaster
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the
  Advancement of Women
United Nations University
World Bank
World Health Organization/Pan American Health Organization
World Meteorological Organization
Economic Commission for Africa
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Non-United Nations regional bodies

Indian Ocean Commission
Organization of American States
Organization of Eastern Caribbean States
European Community
South Pacific Regional Environment Programme


Cape Verde
Marshall Islands
Sao Tome' and Principe


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