With the aim of achieving sustainable development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, Member States gathered on 24-25 September at United Nations Headquarters in New York to review progress made in addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS.
During the closing session, the General Assembly adopted a Political Declaration which acknowledges the commitment demonstrated by SIDS to promote sustainable development over the past five years, and also recognizes the important role that the international community has played in this regard.
“The United Nations is committed to supporting the Smalls Island Developing States at the international policy level and on the ground through its agencies and technical cooperation projects,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The Declaration requests the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive review and examine ways to enhance the coherence and coordination of the UN system’s support for SIDS.
At the event, countries discussed ways and means of strengthening the resilience of SIDS noting the efforts the small islands have made on their own initiative, while stressing the need for the international community to play an even more critical role in helping the islanders make progress in addressing their vulnerabilities and in supporting their sustainable development efforts through more targeted assistance and partnerships.
“Economic, environmental and social vulnerabilities at SIDS have deteriorated during the past 10 years, undermining their capacity to achieve the globally agreed developing targets,” stated Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, urging the international community to provide more support to those countries.
The Declaration adopted highlights that many challenges that still affect SIDS. Through the document, both SIDS and the international community commit to continue to work together in addressing these constraints, including in priority areas such as climate change, energy, food security, tourism, biodiversity, and conservation of coastal and marine resources.
In 2005, the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was adopted. The Strategy sets forth actions and strategies in 19 priority areas, including the original themes of the Barbados Programme of Action. In 2008, the General Assembly decided to review the five-year progress made in addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy at its 65 session.
Highly vulnerable to climate change, natural disasters and the vagaries of international finance and trade, SIDS face unique challenges as they seek to promote economic growth, improve the quality of life, and protect their distinct environments.