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GENERAL DEBATE

UNITED KINGDOM: Linda Brown noted that a clear programme of action would allow governments to assess their success in meeting their UNCED commitments to consider the special needs of SIDS in the context of Agenda 21. Important issues to be considered include water and the marine environment, health and population policy, the need for export diversification, and institutional issues, such as development planning and capacity building. Donor coordination is needed. The UK will contribute œ30,000 to the Conference process in support of Caribbean participation (Government and NGO) and is discussing support for Pacific participation with SPREP.

AUSTRIA: Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl said that the development of vulnerability indicators, as suggested in PC/10, could be a step toward the creation of sustainable development indicators. Issues such as new and renewable energy and tourism are very important. She hoped that this Conference will contribute to keeping sustainable development on the international agenda.

SAMOA: Amb. Tuiloma Neroni Slade highlighted the obstacles that Samoa and other South Pacific SIDS face in their quest for sustainable development. He added that SIDS are the first victim of global change that has been caused by others. For this reason, they will need assistance from the international community. He expressed hope that the outcome of this Conference would be a holistic and integrative plan of action.

MEXICO: Patricia Belmar said that the Conference provides the first opportunity to implement a part of Agenda 21. To succeed, the situation of SIDS needs to be understood and supported by the entire international community.

BANGLADESH: Mohammad Ziauddin said that his country suffers from many of the same problems as SIDS. He underscored the importance of natural disaster preparedness and offered to share experiences in coping with sea-level rise. He suggested that the plan of action adopted for the least developed countries could provide some useful lessons for this Conference.

SRI LANKA: Amb. Stanley Kalpage said that there is an urgent need for special consideration for both environmental assistance and development aid for SIDS. He said that progress has been made in regional and inter-regional cooperation, but political will and commitment is now needed. He called on the world community to provide assistance to SIDS and added that the reality of global partnership will be tested by the outcome of this Conference.

UNIDO: A.O. Lacanlale presented an overview of the UN Industrial Development Organisation's activities in support of the sustainable development of SIDS. UNIDO emphasizes the development of entrepreneurial and managerial skills, enhancement of competitiveness, and the maintenance of products quality. UNIDO sees considerable scope for the development of marine resource-based industrial processing in SIDS. UNIDO will undertake a study to classify SIDS according to their potential for industrial development.

UN REGIONAL COMMISSIONS: John M. Foday-Lamin spoke on behalf of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ECSWA). He mentioned the nature of the Regional Commissions' work with SIDS. The Regional Commissions have: spearheaded initiatives in establishing various inter-governmental organizations and inter-agency committees to coordinate environmental management; and reinforced their effectiveness in dealing with sustainable development and capacity building. The Conference should: develop a coordinated plan of action for implementation by UN organizations and other inter-governmental bodies; develop environmental management plans; and strengthen existing regional and subregional institutions for monitoring and follow-up.

WORLD BANK: Jan C. Post said that the Bank created a vice presidency for environmentally sustainable development last year. All projects now have to go through an environmental impact assessment process. Environmental protection is the object of many Bank projects. He referred to the role of the Bank in the GEF and its work in conjunction with UNEP and FAO on integrated coastal zone management.

WAFUNIF: Diedre Powell, on behalf of the World Association of Former Internes and Fellows, highlighted five areas for further attention: endogenous scientific and technological capacity; access to environmentally sound technologies; the brain drain; the globalization of finance and production and the impact of groupings such as the EC and NAFTA; and the impact of science and technology on women and youth. Youth, women and indigenous people form an essential part of the knowledge base of SIDS.

WOMEN'S CAUCUS: Dr. E.A. Moore said that women's centrality to both the economic and social fabric of life in SIDS is unquestionable. She highlighted women's roles in SIDS and expressed deep disappointment with the Conference documents for their failure to recognize this. This Conference must demonstrate that the gains women made in Rio have not been lost.

ECUADOR: Miriam Mantilla said that the stage of diagnosis of the problem has already been launched. The next step is to promote greater activity and set priorities for sustainable development of SIDS. The Barbados Conference will provide an opportunity to define strategies.

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