Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Opening Remarks
Side Event on Fostering Private Sector Partnerships For SIDS
SIDS Conference Inter-regional preparatory meeting

Thank you.
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to be with you today.  I want to start by thanking my close colleague and friend High Representative and Under-Secretary-General Acharya for organizing this important event.

I would also like to thank the Caribbean Development Bank for its co-chairing role.

This discussion could not be more timely. It places the role of the private sector on the SIDS agenda.

It shines a spotlight on a number of critical issues facing SIDS in fostering private sector partnership, as clearly outlined in the Concept Note for this event.

I would also like to thank the business partners for your participation.

Your engagement here demonstrates the growing commitment of the private sector in SIDS to sustainable development.

We cannot underestimate the importance of business in our quest to seek a resilient and sustainable future for SIDS.

Your productive investments and innovative capacities are crucial for transitioning to a resource- and energy- efficient, low carbon, inclusive green economy.

As business leaders, the decisions you make today will affect the planet and society for decades to come.

You can adopt and implement cleaner production technologies and greener value chains.

And you can also play a leading role in providing employment and livelihood opportunities.

Last month I had the opportunity to attend two of the three regional preparatory meetings.

At those meetings, I heard again and again, the vital role that Small- and Medium-Sized Entreprises (SMEs) play in community development, economic growth, and the creation of opportunities for women and youth in particular.

Promoting regional enabling environments for SMEs is a particularly vital form of private sector engagement. It bolsters the social and economic development of SIDS.

SMEs weave themselves into the fabric of SIDS society. This brings not only jobs, but also social cohesion and vibrancy to the communities in which they operate.

As you know, SIDS are at the frontline of many battles – fighting climate change, reducing disaster risks, fostering healthy oceans, protecting the global ecosystems and many others.

These are also global priorities. 

As Conference Secretary-General, I have often said that the world will not be sustainable if the SIDS are not sustainable.

We need your leadership now more than ever.

I invite the business partners here to work with us, with the Office of the High Representative and other entities in the UN system, to launch concrete, pragmatic business partnerships in support of SIDS, in Samoa, next year.

The Conference can be a launching pad for new partnerships—including public-private partnerships and those involving SMEs. It can also serve to strengthen existing partnerships.

These partnerships will help SIDS tackle vulnerabilities and enhance resilience.

In this undertaking, regional entities will also be key to creating the fertile ground to foster the initiation and growth of the SMEs.

And private sector companies from the North can work in concert with their SIDS counterparts on a range of business ventures and efforts to diversify SIDS economies. These partnerships will be mutually beneficial, and, for that reason, durable.


Governments alone cannot implement sustainable development. Neither can the private sector do it alone. But, working together, we can change course and create a sustainable future for SIDS communities across the planet.

I look forward to a rich discussion here today. I know it will make a valuable contribution to the ongoing SIDS-led dialogue that will take us to Samoa and beyond.

Thank you.