Preparations are in full swing for the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States which will take place in Samoa on 1-4 September. Leading this work is UN DESA’s Under-Secretary- General and the Conference Secretary-General Wu Hongbo. Mr. Wu has just launched a blog to share information and weekly updates ahead of this major event.
Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are home to 63.2 million people. They represent places of exceptional natural beauty and with their many biodiversity “hot spots” they also play a crucial role for the health of our planet. This is also a group of states that face a number of special vulnerabilities due to their small size, isolation, exposure to disasters, to external shocks and to climate change impacts.
To address these challenges, world leaders, government representatives and civil society organizations will gather in Apia, Samoa in September for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, which will focus on the overarching theme “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”.
Ahead of this major event, Mr. Wu has launched a new blog on the conference website, where he will share information and provide weekly updates on the preparations, as well as answer questions on the conference sent in by readers.
“In my capacity as the Conference Secretary-General, I have been working with Member States, UN system entities, Major Groups and other stakeholders to mobilize support for the Conference. Many of them have been actively engaged in the preparatory activities and have expressed an interest to learn more as preparations accelerate,” says Mr. Wu in his first blog post.
In his new blog, Mr. Wu also answers a recurring question related to the conference title. “One of the most frequent queries addressed to the Secretariat has been about the number “Third” in the title of the Conference– why the UN should convene a conference the third time on small island developing States (SIDS),” he says, giving a detailed account of developments since 1992 when the Earth Summit was held, followed by the first UN Conference on SIDS in Barbados in 1994 and the high-level meeting in Mauritius in January 2005.
“At Rio+20, Member States noted with concern that SIDS had made less progress in sustainable development than most other groupings. In economic terms, especially in terms of poverty reduction and debt sustainability, SIDS had actually regressed,” Mr. Wu says, noting that it was in Rio in June 2012, that Member States decided to call for a third conference.
“Many of the challenges facing SIDS are shared by the international community, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, oceans and seas, disasters, among others. The spirit of partnership has been strong in the preparatory process so far. So I am confident that whatever difficulties, Member States will reach agreement on a “concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented political document” and this Inter-sessional will be a significant step in that direction,” concludes Mr. Wu, referring to the inter-sessional meeting taking place on 21-25 April.
Access the blog: Mr. Wu’s Blog on Small Island Developing States
To send in comments and queries to Mr. Wu’s blog: sustainabledevelopment.un.org/contact
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Government of Samoa