H.E. Jane Chigiyal,
Federated States of Micronesia
Preparatory Committee for the third International Conference on Small Island Developing States
24 February 2014
Check Against Delivery
It is a great pleasure for me to address this Preparatory Committee in light of the on-going effort to define concrete, practical and comprehensive measures aimed at the sustainable development of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
The preparations for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States to be held in September of 2014 in Apia, Samoa are now underway. As SIDS, we have put our efforts to produce an outcome document that reflects our development aspirations. It is my delegation's view that the document should form the basis for developing the zero draft outcome document for our meetings.
This first Preparatory Committee meeting gives us an important opportunity to listen to the views of the wider UN membership. It also provides an avenue for us to elaborate on a few key issues. As time is short, allow me therefore to use my intervention to highlight a few issues that are of particular relevance.
The development challenges of SIDS are well known, our geography, remoteness and smallness and our high level of vulnerability are recognized throughout the international community. As we move forward, we will have to collectively ask ourselves - what are the best tools to address them. Why we have not advanced in our sustainable development as much as we wanted? What went wrong?
It is clear that we need a paradigm shift in how SIDS and the development partners are interacting. Here are some ideas to consider:
The theme of the Conference, "The sustainable development of Small Island Developing States through genuine and durable partnerships" is one place to begin. We need to be equal partners working together on the priority areas identified. All players need to be equally transparent. Transparency needs to extend to implementing agencies, whether they be our regional organizations or the United Nations. We can no longer afford to have the funds which are supposed to help us in our sustainable development be used up in consultancies, reports and websites, they need to translate into projects on the ground.
However, partnerships are not a substitute but rather a supplement for means of implementation and the provision of Official Development Assistance. We equally need to strengthen those and improve the institutional support to SIDS. We also need to develop our capacity both of our people and our institutions. But rather than sending officials to workshops, we need to learn by doing while projects on the ground are implemented.
Our countries are leaders in the sustainable use, management and conservation of the Ocean. The Rio+20 and the SIDS interregional outcome documents rightly highlight our world's oceans, and the environmental challenges it faces. Many of us can be described as 'Large Ocean' rather than 'Small Island' Developing States. The Oceans is a crucial provider for our food, energy, tourism, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, and over-all the bloodline of our economies. For those whose fate is most directly linked to the oceans, we must have support measures from the international community that are targeted at our specific needs in this area.
There must be global efforts to regulate fisheries and exploitation of marine resources, eliminate harmful subsidies and IUU fishing, address ocean acidification and ensure greater economic benefits to SIDS from use of their marine resources. Thus, the outcome of the Samoa Conference needs to be concrete, targeted and be equally strong in this regard. For all these reasons, the Pacific SIDS are calling for a dedicated SDG on Oceans.
But our potential for Sustainable Development, Mr. Co-Chairs, is constantly threatened by climate change. Sea-level rise in our region is occurring at twice the global speed, threatening our shore lines, water supplies and food. It is even encroaching on our sovereignty and endangering our very survival. There must be a global effort to halt the onslaught of climate change.
In order to address climate change, the international community must undertake bold actions for the UNFCCC negotiations to reach a robust agreement by 2015. We must also explore other potential avenues that address the climate crisis. This brings me to one such avenue - the Montreal Protocol. Micronesia has advocated for the use of the Montreal Protocol to regulate the production and consumption of HFCs. Our proposal is not a conflicting goal, but rather a necessary complement to the UNFCCC process.
The bad news is that HFC production and consumption is already on the rise and HFCs are the fastest growing green-house gases in a number of countries. It is time for us to take concrete steps towards solving the problem of the growth of production and consumption of HFCs. And the Montreal Protocol is the best place to accomplish a phase down on the production and consumption of HFCs.
The international community's goodwill would have been wasted if the climate change crisis is not properly addressed.
The SIDS have a unique opportunity to establish themselves as leaders on sustainable energy. While SIDS are often considered resource poor in many areas, our wealth lies in our renewable energy resources. The international community must provide targeted measures to address many of the aspects of our renewable energy resources, such as wind, sun, waves, geothermal, among others. These could make a crucial difference in our sustainable development efforts.
The BPOA provided us with a blueprint for our sustainable development, but it did not give us the means of measuring progress. We need adequate and reliable data to better develop sound policies to address our challenges.
Finally, the outcome of the Samoa Conference will not be a stand-alone effort. It is part and parcel of the post 2015 development agenda and will also inform the climate change summit convened by the Secretary General later in the year. Let me express that my delegation is looking forward to the zero draft document and the negotiations. We hope that the informals will start soon and pledge our active support to you. I am confident that our deliberations at this Prep Com, as well as the other upcoming PrepComs can help identify concrete and practical measures that can translate the visions of the SIDS into reality.
I thank you.