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PLENARY

CUBA: The Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Rosa Elena Simeon Negrin, said that the primary wealth of SIDS is their people. The survival of human beings is threatened by high population density, scarcity of forest and water resources, global warming, dependence on imports, and infant mortality.

SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS: Eugene Petty, the Minister of Environment and Planning, said migration has led to population decline and a reduction in the level of expertise on the islands. He recognized the importance of NGOs, the private sector, youth and women.

MALDIVES: Deputy Minister of Planning, Human Resources and Environment, Hussain Shihab, stressed the need for coordination among governments and between donors. New and additional financial resources are needed. Poor market access and reliance on a single commodity are two problems facing SIDS.

LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC: Amb. Alounkeo Kittikhoun said that to meet the challenges confronting them, SIDS need support from the international community.

AUSTRALIA: Amb. Penelope Wensley said that the Programme of Action provides an instrument to achieve economic and social well-being for island peoples and an opportunity to measure the Rio commitments. Partnership with local communities and NGOs is essential.

INDIA: Amb. T.P. Sreenivasan said that India has set up an Island Development Authority. Decentralization and involvement of local communities is an effective way of managing the process. Science and technology and finance are priorities.

WORLD BANK: Andrew Steer said that the Bank's support for SIDS focuses on: human resource development; waste management; sanitation and water supply; strengthened environmental and natural resource management; and sound policy reform. The GEF can play a vital role in addressing climate change in SIDS through financing alternative energy sources; protecting biodiversity; and addressing marine pollution.

MAURITIUS: Sateevad Seebaluck, Assistant Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Quality of Life, said SIDS are implicitly condemned to a development status quo, as if they exist only to preserve the environment.

NEW CALEDONIA: Simon Loveckhote, President of Congress, spoke on behalf of this French territory. He called for economic diversification, industrialization, improved communication and tourism development.

Prof. Bishnodat Persaud, Director, Centre for Environment and Development, University of the West Indies, presented the results of a case study on alternative energy for SIDS (A/CONF/167/CRP.1).

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Sir George Alleyne said that the HIV/AIDS pandemic disproportionately affects developing countries. WHO aims to achieve a sustainable basis for health for all; a healthy environment; and to ensure all are aware of their responsibility for health.

KIRIBATI: Nakibae Tellatabo said that sustainable development would be meaningless if all low-lying islands were submerged by the seas. SIDS draw upon limited resources to set up plans for the exploitation of their living marine resources and donor countries should participate.

CANADA: John Fraser, Ambassador for the Environment, said that the response to global warming and a host of other problems depends on timely political decisions taken on the best evidence available.

BENIN: Amb. Ren‚ Val‚ry Mongbe said that this Conference is the first follow-up Conference since Rio and that the international community should commit itself to helping SIDS through the provision of new and additional resources and technology transfer.

UNFPA: Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director and Secretary-General of the International Conference on Population and Development, said that SIDS have high population densities and it is difficult to balance population, environment and development. Population programmes must include good quality reproductive-health care.

ROMANIA: Ioan Barac said that the preparatory process has demonstrated a general and sympathetic appreciation of the special circumstances of SIDS, and this appreciation should also prevail here in Bridgetown.

INDONESIA: Aca Sugandhy noted that the most important part of this Programme -- the provisions on finance and technology -- remains virtually unsolved.

UNICEF: On behalf of Executive Director James Grant, Teresa Albanez, said that sustainable development starts with children. She urged Governments to ratify and implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child. SIDS should adopt sustainable models for health care.

BERMUDA: Minister of the Environment Gerald Simons, speaking as a member of the UK delegation, highlighted Bermuda's experience in moving to a modern tourist destination and financial center.

UN INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONTROL PROGRAMME: Michel Amiot said that SIDS are not immune to the devastating problems caused by drug abuse and its ramifications, such as related increases in crime, money laundering, family disruption, and health problems.

ORGANIZATION OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN STATES: Brian Challenger, on behalf of the Director General, said that his organization has prepared a Regional Action Plan that aims to: provide the international community with an indication of the problems and opportunities facing its member States; and indicate efforts already being pursued.

DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES WITH WOMEN FOR A NEW ERA: Peggy Antrobus, Coordinator, said that programmes and structural adjustment policies have impacted most heavily on women, but that women's contributions are often overlooked.

TRICKLE UP PROGRAM: The representative said that the experience of the programme demonstrates that SIDS have special resources that enable them to sustainably reduce unemployment and underemployment, enrich the quality of life and further sustainable development.

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