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PM to make case for SIDS

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

PM to make case for SIDS

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PRIME MINISTER Freundel Stuart is expected to play an important role at the Third International UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which will be held in Samoa from September 1 to 4.
Stuart will chair the first Partnership Dialogue on Sustainable Economic Development and he will be a part of a panel on Financing for Sustainable Development. He will also chair the Food and Agriculture Organization’s side-event entitled: Improved Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihoods in SIDS, and participate in the panel discussion on Caribbean Regional Integration and the Decent Work Agenda.
In addition, he will attend meetings hosted by the United Nations Development Programme, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Monetary Fund, to consider matters such as financing for sustainable development, debt sustainability and graduation from concessionary finance. 
Underscoring the importance of the conference to Barbados, CARICOM and SIDS, the Prime Minister said it would give these islands an opportunity to present and re-affirm the need for special considerations.
“Barbados is regarded as the strategic partner to the SIDS agenda following our hosting of the inaugural conference on Small Island Developing States in 1994. As such, Barbados’ leadership at Samoa will be essential for maintaining global confidence and securing further international cooperation for advancing the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action, the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation, and the Samoa Pathway.
“The Samoan Government has successfully placed partnerships at the core of the discussions and we will, therefore, use the meeting to showcase our existing partnerships, such as the Social Partnership and the Government of Barbados and the United Nations Environment Programme Partnership, for building a resource-efficient Green Economy, and we will also take the opportunity to pursue new initiatives,” Stuart stated.
Those included in the delegation are: Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dr. Denis Lowe; Permanent Secretaries in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sonja Welch; Ministry of Environment and Drainage, Edison Alleyne; and Division of Energy and Telecommunications, Jehu Wiltshire; acting director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss; and senior environmental officer, Travis Sinckler.
The objectives of the SIDS conference include assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation (MSI) of the BPOA; and identifying new and emerging challenges and opportunities for sustainable development of SIDS and ways and means of addressing them.
In addition, the meeting will seek a renewed political commitment by all countries to effectively address the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS by focusing on practical action for the further implementation of the BPOA and the MSI. It will also identify priorities for sustainable development of SIDS for consideration, as appropriate, in the post-2015 agenda.   
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first global conference on SIDS, which was held in Barbados from April 25 to May 6, 1994. It was convened as a result of the international community’s recognition of the vulnerabilities of SIDS and the acknowledgement that they are “a special case both for environment and development”. 
The SIDS grouping is made up of three distinct geographic regions – the Caribbean; the Pacific; and the Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Seas. Some of the common issues affecting them are climate change and sea level rise; natural and environmental disasters; coastal, energy and marine resources; and transport and communication. (BGIS)