PREPARATIONS FOR THE CONFERENCE: Harcourt Lewis, Minister of the Environment, Housing and Lands of Barbados, briefed the PrepCom on his government's preparations for the Conference. The Sherbourne Centre, as well as the other locations for the Conference, will be completed and furnished well in advance of the Conference. Arrangements are in progress to identify and reserve the requisite accommodations for the participants. An independent NGO Liaison Committee has been established with responsibility for all aspects of the participation of NGOs in the Conference. The Government of Barbados has also decided to stage an exhibition to run parallel to the Conference. The exhibition, titled "Village of Hope," will include discussions and workshops, thematic displays and exhibits, and an exhibition of technology, all bearing the theme of sustainable development of SIDS. Two events are also planned for January 1994: a media workshop and an eminent persons meeting.
The next speaker was Nicolas Drayton, on behalf of the Caribbean Conservation Association (CCA), Chair of the NGO Liaison Committee. CCA is consulting with other NGOs in preparation for the Conference. He urged governments to include NGOs on delegations. CCA hopes to bring NGO perspectives into the Village of Hope. CCA is also planning the NGO Forum that will convene in advance of the Conference and run concurrently. He thanked all agencies and governments that have supported NGO participation in this process. Tupou Vere, speaking on behalf of Pacific Island NGOs, supported Drayton's comments.
OPERATIONS OF THE VOLUNTARY FUND: Miles Stoby from the Secretariat briefed the PrepCom on the status of the voluntary fund. The Secretary-General is seeking US$950,000 to provide for the participation of representatives from SIDS in the Conference process. As of today, the Secretariat has only received US$154,783. This figure includes contributions from Canada, Chile, Sweden and New Zealand. Pledges have also been received from Italy and Liechtenstein. On Thursday, the UK pledged 30,000 for support of the participation of Caribbean delegates and NGOs and mentioned that it is considering support for Pacific delegates as well. The Dutch and Japanese are also considering contributions to the fund. Stoby made a strong appeal for contributions. He also explained that the Secretary-General may seek additional voluntary support for NGO participation, the public information programme, representation of journalists from SIDS at the Conference, and the development of a SIDS information system.
Japan indicated that it is seriously considering its contribution, but cannot pledge a specific amount at this time. Vanuatu, on behalf of AOSIS, thanked those governments who have pledged and contributed to the fund.
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