Ms. Maria Francesca Spatolisano Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs

Closing Remarks
HLPF 2019 -Thematic review: “Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality”

Madam Chairman,
Madam Moderator,
Honourable Ministers,
Distinguished Panelists,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed an honour for me to make closing remarks at this very important special session this morning.

I have taken due note of all the valuable remarks, updates, and recommendations from each of the distinguished speakers, lead discussants and from the floor. I deeply appreciate all contributions made.

This year marks the completion of the first four-year cycle of the HLPF. Enough time has passed for us to take a look back and meaningfully assess our successes and challenges remaining in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the goals and priorities that it embodies.

The General Assembly, in wise recognition of the unique sustainable development challenges faced by Small Island Development States, agreed that the HLPF should devote adequate time during its annual meetings to addressing this unique country grouping.

The HLPF, convened annually under the auspices of ECOSOC, has since regularly provided a platform for SIDS to update the world of the progress in their implementation efforts, the challenges they are confronting and a stage to share the good practices they have learnt along the way and we heard many today in this session.

The SAMOA Pathway, the overarching framework setting out the sustainable development aspirations and priorities of SIDS, is up for mid-term review in September this year. As you know, such a review is part of a series of five High-Level Events to be convened during the opening week of the General Assembly.

In the past five years of implementation some emerging trends have been observed. The Secretary-General, in his latest report on the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway (A/74/66) observed a growing recognition among SIDS of the advantages and importance of regional approaches to implementation of their Sustainable Development Goals and priorities. Dr. Slater and all your interventions today confirmed this truth, particularly among the Pacific and the Caribbean SIDS.

Climate change and resilience-building continue to remain the top priorities for SIDS in the environmental pillar of sustainable development. Social inclusion, poverty eradication and addressing the non-communicable disease epidemic are high among your social concerns; while debt alleviation, access to concessional financing and challenges relating to connectivity feature prominently as top priorities for action on the economic pillar.

The special sessions of HLPF, like those devoted to the vulnerable groups of countries, add much value to our efforts. These sessions have been providing a platform for helpful and meaningful interactions between these vulnerable countries and their developed partners. Today has been no exception and brought to us all a wealth of new information.

In concluding, I would take this opportunity to urge Small Island Developing States that have not done so, to consider presenting their Voluntary National Reviews. I congratulate those that have done so and commend those who are presenting theirs next week.

Thank you very much.

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