Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States
Opening Statement at Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States AIMS Regional Preparatory Meeting
17 July 2013, Mahé, Seychelles
President James Alix Michel,
President of the General Assembly Vuk Jeremic,
Ambassador Marlene Moses,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am honoured to be here to address the AIMS Regional Preparatory Meeting in the Seychelles. I extend my deep appreciation to the Government of the Seychelles for hosting this meeting and for the generosity and gracious hospitality extended to us.
The host Government has provided extraordinary leadership in bringing this meeting to fruition, with personal and expert engagement by the Ministers themselves.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my UN colleagues, notably UNDP colleagues, for their tremendous contributions. Their support and partnership is deeply appreciated not only here in the AIMS region but also at UN Headquarters in New York.
Today marks an important milestone in the preparations for the 2014 SIDS Conference: the first opportunity for the AIMS region to come together, compare notes, discuss priorities and develop a regional agenda.
The Caribbean and Pacific SIDS regional meetings have taken place earlier this month.
Like the Pacific and Caribbean SIDS, here you will establish and solidify the AIMS position, which will guide your work throughout the preparatory process, leading to the inter-regional meeting in Barbados and then to a successful global meeting in Apia in September 2014.
Of course, much work has already been done, including through your national consultations.
Your efforts have once again displayed the legendary creative spirit in the AIMS region. AIMS SIDS are leading innovators in many areas of sustainable development.
From renewable energy initiatives to the protection of your marine habitats and biodiversity, and to great strides in sustainable tourism, the governments and people of the AIMS SIDS are putting sustainable development in practice.
Several AIMS SIDS have established ambitious goals and targets on renewable energy, energy access and energy efficiency.
You have also provided leadership on climate change, energizing UN climate change negotiations and global action for combating climate change.
During the Rio+20 preparations, you succeeded in raising the voices of SIDS on oceans, also known as the Blue Economy.
AIMS SIDS are diverse. Several AIMS SIDS are least developed countries. In addition to sharing SIDS specific vulnerabilities, they have to deal with more serious social, economic and environmental challenges.
The international community must renew its partnerships with these LDC SIDS.
Indeed, AIMS SIDS have been champions of partnerships, both in the region and beyond.
You are leaders in several successful SIDS-to-SIDS partnerships, such as GLISPA – the Global Island Partnership, and the SIDS-Dock partnership promoting renewable energy.
Sustainable development is the responsibility of the entire world, with common but differentiated responsibilities, and enhancing the means of implementation in support of SIDS must be addressed as a top priority in global partnerships for sustainable development.
It is an honour for me to be appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on SIDs. I am aware of the challenges. But I am equally determined to help bring together the best in the UN System for the success of the Samoa conference.
I can assure you that the entire UN system will come together in supporting the SIDS agenda. In the context of UN system collaboration, we have brought together all UN entities to strengthen existing partnerships and to create new partnerships. We want these partnerships, big and small, traditional and non-traditional, to focus on your issues – on climate change, healthy oceans, renewable energy, water, disaster resilience and tourism, among others. Some new initiatives are already in the works.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you meet, the United Nations is also busy with preparations for the post-2015 development agenda, which will have sustainable development at its core.
I hope that this meeting here in Mahe, the inter-regional meeting Barbados, and the Conference in Samoa next year will be occasions to share the aspirations of SIDS for the post-2015 agenda – which must be an agenda that will address the unique vulnerabilities of SIDS and that will help strengthen the resilience of SIDS.
I wish you all the best in your deliberations in the coming days, and I look forward to listening to the AIMS voice at this meeting.