Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Closing Ceremony
International Year of Small Island Developing States

H.E. Mr. Sam Kahamba Kutesa, President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly,
H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations and Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States,
Champions of the International Year of SIDS,
Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya, High Representative of Land Locked, Least Developed and Small island Developing States,
Panellists and specially invited guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to join you this afternoon to mark the closing of the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

This year has illustrated once again that much can be accomplished through partnership. Collaboration among Member States, the UN System, international and regional agencies, and Civil Society made the year a resounding success. The highlight of the Year—the Third International Conference on SIDS—placed SIDS issues front and center on the world stage. It reminded us that SIDS issues are global issues.

The purpose of the International Year was to focus the attention of the international community on the challenges, as well as the many achievements, of SIDS.

I commend the leadership and dedication of AOSIS, the three SIDS champions, the President of the General Assembly, the individual SIDS member States, the many friends of SIDS and the whole range of stakeholders, for their significant contributions to the activities promoting the International Year of SIDS.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new chair of AOSIS, the Republic of Maldives. You are taking over an important role at a critical juncture. I have no doubt that you will continue the hard work of your successor, Nauru, in promoting the interests of Small Island Developing States. I would like to assure you of my constant support, as we continue to enhance partnerships and work toward the sustainable development of SIDS.


The unique challenges of SIDS were first formally recognized by the international community at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. Since then, SIDS have worked to overcome their vulnerabilities and have strengthened their resilience— through their own efforts, but also in partnership with the international community.

The designation of the International Year was a historic opportunity for mobilizing global action and partnership in support of SIDS. It raised awareness of SIDS challenges, their resilience, the great contributions they have made to the global community, and the rich heritage that makes them so proud.

Despite many dedicated efforts, SIDS remain faced with their particular challenges, such as sea level rise and natural disasters exacerbated by climate change, vulnerability to external shocks and excessive dependence on international trade, and their limited capacity to deal with those challenges. The degradation of their marine resources and biodiversity, and coastal erosion further threaten SIDS’ economic growth.

The International Year has helped to highlight these challenges and emphasize why it is necessary for us all to take urgent actions to enhance the capacity and resilience of SIDS.


The International Year of SIDS and the Conference in Samoa were successful events, advancing the sustainable development of SIDS, but they both marked starting points rather than culminations. Our work together has just begun.

UNDESA, in cooperation with other UN agencies and regional entities, will continue to work to ensure the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the partnerships launched at the conference.

We will also work together to ensure that SIDS priorities feed into The Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, the Post-2015 Summit, and the Paris Climate Change meeting, among others. The intergovernmental negotiations have begun for the Post-2015 Development Agenda this month, and SIDS delegations remain vocal in expressing their priorities within the context of global sustainable development.


As we look to the future, and the many opportunities before us we must ensure that the focus on SIDS issues and priorities continues.

I am pleased to have been associated with such a momentous International Year. I look forward to continued dialogue towards the further sustainable development of SIDS in the years to come.

I thank you.