UN Headquarters

05 September 2014

Remarks to Forum of Small States

Ban Ki-moon

[As prepared for delivery]

I thank the Permanent Missions of Singapore and New Zealand for inviting me to this meeting of the Forum of Small States.

I have just returned from New Zealand where I spoke at the University of Auckland and met with Prime Minister Key and senior members of the Government and opposition.

Immediately prior to that, I attended the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

I congratulate the Government of Samoa for successfully hosting the conference.

I was heartened to see the solidarity for Small Island Developing States last week in Samoa.

The SAMOA Pathway, which builds on the Mauritius Strategy of Implementation and the Barbados Programme of Action, is another step forward for the sustainable development of SIDS.

The spirit of durable partnerships, which was the theme of the conference, lies at the heart of this Forum too.

This Forum has a unique voice in matters of international discourse.

Small States are well-suited to act as bridge builders in our mutual pursuit of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development.

You represent a majority of Member States, with perspectives from North and South, East and West, developed and developing.

As I said last week at the SIDS conference in Samoa, small States often serve as magnifying lenses for the issues that all nations must face.

Your experiences and insights are invaluable.

Many of the most important resolutions of the United Nations originate from the sponsorship of small States.

Yet, your size as individual States comes with constraints.

This is particularly true for developing countries, which may lack the capacity to participate as fully as they would like in UN meetings and other affairs.

They are also often burdened by the reporting and implementation requirements of the many multilateral agreements that they are bound by.

I therefore welcome the report you have prepared for today’s discussion identifying areas where the United Nations can serve small States in a more effective and user-friendly manner.

As we work to define a post-2015 development agenda, and as we continue to address some of the world’s greatest challenges to peace, security and human rights, we must always keep in mind the needs of small States.

Later this year, the second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Developing Countries, will convene in Vienna to set the framework that will follow the Almaty Programme of Action.

Many Landlocked Developing Countries are members of this Forum.

Landlocked Developing Countries are often marginalized from the global economy, cut-off geographically and logistically from global flows of knowledge, technology, capital and innovation, and unable to benefit substantially from external trade.
Another group of countries that I would like to mention, many of whom are represented here, are middle-income nations.

I have heard numerous times that their development is hampered by this designation as they are overlooked by donors.

In this world of competing demands and budgetary restraint, I can understand how this can occur, but at the same time, there is a cruel irony in rewarding success with neglect.
So, I would appeal to all supporters of small states not to overlook this group.
But, whatever their means, small States will continue to need special attention.

That is why you have the attention and commitment of United Nations and me personally.

And that is why it is important that you continue to act as a group in each other’s interests.

Later this month we will meet for the General Debate.

Immediately beforehand, on September 23rd, I am convening a Climate Summit.

I count on the leaders of small States to be present in large numbers and to show by their actions that they are prepared to lead on climate action.

Many of you are on the frontlines and are already experiencing the effects of climate change.

Many are also in the vanguard of the global response.

You are developing resilience and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

I saw this most recently in Samoa and New Zealand.

I will count on small States to continue to work at the cutting edge of all areas of fulfilling the mission of the United Nations.

And I pledge to continue to do all in my power to enable you to do so.

Thank you.