Small Island Developing States urged to find sustainable solution

27 Aug 2013

image Samoa and Solomon Islands delegations during the Rio+20 Pacific Leaders Preparatory meeting in Samoa 2011. SIDS 2014 will be the largest conference Samoa will host. Photo credit: UNDP Samoa MCO.

As the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) prepare for their Third International Conference in Samoa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan stressed yesterday the need for world leaders to take decisive action to reduce poverty and put the world on a sustainable and equitable development path.

In her opening remarks at the interregional preparatory meeting in Barbados, she emphasized that rapid environmental degradation, climate change and growing inequalities need immediate attention.

Ms. Grynspan highlighted that while SIDS have made significant strides towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in health, education, gender equality and water and sanitation, action must be taken to address pollution, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and biodiversity loss. “These are problems that SIDS, in most cases, have done very little to cause and that exacerbate structural vulnerabilities on top of the normal challenges developing countries already face.”

Speaking to close to two hundred delegates from over forty countries she explained that while these challenges were recognized by member states in Rio and it was agreed that environmental, social and economic objectives must be pursued simultaneously, the concept has not yet been put into action.

Ms. Grynspan said that the time has come to turn promises into action, making the 2014 Apia Conference in Samoa a vehicle for global action and urged SIDS to “continue to be effective leaders and role models, demonstrating in practice the change they want to see.”

According to her, the Samoa conference could also build on the commitment from leaders to increase support for SIDS, which would help to generate the financing, technology and support it needs and influence the post 2015-development agenda as well.

“SIDS unite diverse actors around strategic initiatives that can trigger long-term sustainable development like supporting the blue economy,” Ms. Grynspan said. “This could help SIDS carve a niche in the global economy while protecting and harnessing the oceans to develop fisheries, build tourism and identify new resources.”

Contact information

Janine Chase, UNDP Barbados: 
+ 1 246 467 6041 

Vincenzo Pugliese, UNDP New York:
+1 212 906 5296