On Monday, 25 April 1994, the Government of Barbados welcomed Conference participants to its country with a colorful National Welcoming Ceremony at the Sir Garfield Sobers Complex, amidst pomp and circumstance, music, dancing, and TV cameras that broadcast the event live throughout the region. In his opening address, the Prime Minister of Barbados welcomed all delegates and NGOs and invited everyone to mix business and pleasure within the limits of national laws. He described the many vulnerabilities of small island developing States. He added that Barbados is doing what it can to implement sustainable development policies.
The next speaker, UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, said that this Conference marks the first time that a UN global conference is held in a small island developing State. The UN strives to make development a national reality. Samuel R. Insanally, the President of the 48th UN General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Guyana to the UN, said that this Conference marks the first test of the commitments made by the international community at the Earth Summit in Rio two years ago. SIDS should use their great human potential to confront the environmental challenges before them.
Amb. Annette des Iles, the Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN, said that AOSIS will do everything it can to ensure the Conference is a success. She invited all developed countries to join AOSIS in implementing the commitments they made in Agenda 21.
Following the speeches, there were a series of dance, cultural and musical presentations by the Royal Rarotongans from the Cook Islands and a number of Caribbean dance companies. There was also a performance by the Barbados Combined Choirs and the Royal Barbados Police Force Band. Perhaps the most creative performance was given by the students of Barbados Secondary Schools, who danced themselves into a human reproduction of the logo of the Conference. At the conclusion of the dance, a 14-year old Barbadian girl gave an impassioned plea to everyone to work hard, using their hands and their heads, to achieve sustainable development.
[Return to start of article]