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

Opening of the Third International Conference on Small Island Development States

Honorable Prime Minister Tuilaepa,
Your Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Your Excellency John Ashe, President of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency Baron Wanqa, President of Nauru and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States,
Your Excellency Martin Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to address the opening of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in my capacity as the Conference Secretary-General.

I want to start by recognizing the outstanding leadership of Prime Minister Tuilaepa, the unwavering commitment of the Samoan government, and the extraordinarily warm hospitality of the Samoan people.

Samoa has opened its harbor to the world; we are home.

This journey to Samoa has encountered stormy and choppy seas.

But above all it has been an inspiring journey.

In this regard, I want to offer a special thanks to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has personally guided us throughout this journey.

I want to thank the Co-Chairs and the Bureau of the Preparatory Committee for their effective leadership of the Preparatory Committee.

And I wish to thank Member States, who have never wavered in their resolve to bring this Conference to a successful and fruitful conclusion.


Some thirty years ago I visited Samoa for the first time, on official business.

Early this year I came back to tour the Conference venue and I saw a different Samoa.

Samoa has recently graduated from the LDC status, and it is a dynamic, prospering island nation, fully embarked on its historic voyage to sustainable development.

The success of Samoa bears witness to the success of genuine and durable partnerships between SIDS and the international community.

However, climate change and its impact are looming larger on the horizon today than three decades ago. The threats and risks facing SIDS are drawing closer and are more often felt at home.

This island nation, just as is the case with fellow SIDS, has seen more than its share of frequent and intensive disasters.

As recognized by the Preparatory Committee, despite their considerable efforts and the mobilization of their limited resources, SIDS progress in achieving sustainable development has been uneven and some have regressed economically.

SIDS remain vulnerable to the vicissitudes of global markets, impeded in their pursuit of sustainable development by small size, remoteness, and exposure to a broader range of climate change impacts.

These adverse impacts have compounded the existing constraints on SIDS and have placed additional burdens on their narrow resource base. 

On their own, SIDS will not be able to tackle the cross-boundary global challenges, some of which are not of their making.

In helping SIDS address these vulnerabilities, the international community is fighting for the survival and wellbeing of the entire humanity, and of this beautiful and yet fragile planet we all call home.

Distinguished Delegates,

In combating climate change, protecting oceans and seas, and preserving biodiversity, SIDS have often been at the frontline of regional and global initiatives.

We applaud their leadership and commitment.

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States offers a timely platform for the international community to renew its commitment and partnership with SIDS and to reinvigorate its political will to achieve sustainable development for all.

Many stakeholders have already made public their commitments in support of SIDS in the Pre-Conference events.

In this context, the Samoa Pathway – the outcome document to be adopted by the SIDS Conference this week – will set forth concrete and critical areas of action, addressing the three dimensions of sustainable development.

We look forward to its formal adoption during this Conference.

We also look forward to the results of the six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues and to the launch of partnership initiatives.

Distinguished Delegates,

Let us remember that the overarching theme of this Conference is “The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships”.

Let us remember that without partnerships and implementation, the impact of the Conference will not last.

It is imperative that we work together to maintain the momentum of the Conference and ensure the robust implementation of the Samoa Pathway and its partnership initiatives.

History has afforded us an opportunity to make a difference.

Let us seize it.

Thank you.