St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
H.E. Dr. Carlyle
World Summit on Sustainable Development
Mr. President, Excellencies,
I have the honour of addressing you on behalf of the Government of the Virgin Islands. We thank the government of South Africa for its warm hospitality and excellent facilities for this Summit, and express our congratulations for the successful convening in Durban of the African Union in June. We in the Caribbean component of the diaspora are poised to play our role in this new era of African development.
The convening of the 1992 Earth Summit served as a catalyst to heightening awareness of the interconnectiveness of the sustainable development continuum. Since Rio, the world has become increasingly mindful of the impact of human activity on the health of the environment of our planet, while also coming to the realisation that issues of poverty, economic and social development, protection of natural resources including marine resources, and globalisation must be interwoven into the fabric of our efforts to create a sustainable global society for the benefit of all of the peoples of the world. This Summit provides us with a critical opportunity to give new impetus to the implementation of the commitments made in Rio, Cairo, Copenhagen, Yokohama, Beijing, Istanbul, Havana, Nadi, Barbados and Monterrey. We are all repeatedly reminded of the startling statistics on poverty and the urgent need for its eradication. To many, poverty is the single greatest impediment to sustainable development, and must be addressed through all means necessary. We recall the wisdom of our elder, the late Kwame Nkruma, that sustainable development means the development of the people. Accordingly, we concur with the expression contained in the Nadi Declaration on ACP Solidarity in a Globalised World, adopted at the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Heads of Government meeting in July, which reaffirmed the vision of sustainable development as being people-centred (with) best practices that would not undermine the prospects of future generations. We are also in accord with the view expressed in the Phnom Penh Platform on Sustainable Development for Asia and the Pacific in rejecting poverty as an acceptable human condition. We note with satisfaction favourable consideration of the proposal for the establishment of a world solidarity fund for poverty eradication. 2 Commitments made in the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Millennium Summit must be honoured, and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) should be fully supported by the international community, beginning with the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly on support for NEPAD.
As a small island developing country in the Caribbean, we are acutely
aware of the significance of the oceans and seas, and the central role
that the marine environment plays in the sustainable development of small
island countries, as reflected in the Secretary General's 2002 Report.
To this end, we welcome support for U.N. resolutions on "promoting an
integrated management approach to the Caribbean Sea area in the context
of sustainable development, " and express our gratitude to the U.N.
Environment Programme for its capacity building exercises on the impact
of climate change in our region, and its Global Programme of Action
for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based activities.
Sea level rise and ocean heat content continue to threaten small island
shorelines, and in a number of cases, endanger the very
As a small island non-independent country, we have sought to answer
the challenge of sustainable development given certain limitations of access
to the international process. Many of our initiatives are carried forth
in our Coastal Zone Management Programme which recognises that sustainable
development can be achieved if there is a commitment to improve or to maintain
resource conditions in consort with development initiatives. Our territorial
legislature also convened in 2001 an economic development summit from which
a draft sustainable development document was prepared. We have moved forward,
in conjunction with our university and key non governmental organisations,
with the development of the Virgin Islands Marine Park encompassing
some 60 square miles. The private sector has contributed to the overall
with the completion by a professional firm of a training manual to guide
developers in the construction of sustainable tourism facilities, with
this document published by UNEP.
In conclusion, we thank the member States of the General Assembly for their support for observer status of the associate member countries in UN world conferences. We ask that our participation in the implementing programmes and activities be endorsed as well, if are to be equipped to further contribute to a sustainable future for all.
Thank you Mr. President