Stuart urges SIDS to join hands
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart believes cooperation among Small Island Developing States (SIDS) is the best way for small countries to be heard internationally.
He acknowledged that to date, cooperation and collaboration across the SIDS region had left much to be desired.
These were two of the main points which Stuart alluded to as he delivered the feature address at yesterday’s Global Celebration Ceremony in Independence Square to commemorate World Environment Day.
Before an audience which included executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner; CARICOM chairman Dr Ralph Gonsalves; United Nations regional coordinator Stephen O’Malley and Minister of Environment and Drainage Dr Denis Lowe; Stuart said it was important for strong relationships to be forged if SIDS were to contribute significantly to global policy decisions on the environment.
“One of the fundamental principles underpinning both the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and the Mauritius Strategy for the further implementation of that programme is inter- and intra-regional collaboration and cooperation across the SIDS regions.
“To date, this remains one of the weakest aspects of the implementation of the SIDS agenda and is yet to be adequately addressed,” Stuart said.
“To my fellow SIDS prime ministers and presidents, I say today that we too need to take our own urgent and decisive action to strengthen our strategic coherence, particularly on issues at the international level. Simply put . . . we need to speak with one voice to ensure that our concerns are taken on board at international fora.”
The Prime Minister said that in Barbados’ view, there was also a need for the establishment of a SIDS inter-governmental institutional mechanism in each of the SIDS regions, which would contribute to driving sustainable development.
“SIDS simply do not have the luxury of wishing and waiting. The development of a SIDS inter-governmental institution must be one of the critical outputs of the Third International Conference on SIDS,” he stated.
“Without such a mechanism it is likely that most of the practical and pragmatic actions perceived by the various United Nations General Assembly Resolutions will go unimplemented,” the Prime Minister said.
He pointed out that 2014 had been designated International Year Of SIDS – the first time in the history of the United Nations that a group of countries had been honoured.
“This is a very important achievement for us SIDS, providing as it does the opportunity to focus on the successes and challenges which countries in this group have experienced, in our quest to achieve sustainable development and in the face of the many inherent vulnerabilities confronting us,” Stuart said. (RB)