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CLOSING SESSION

The final session of the Plenary for the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States was convened on Friday afternoon, 6 May 1994. The first item on the agenda was the adoption of the report of the Conference (A/CONF.167/L.5). Rapporteur-General Kinza Clodumar (Nauru) introduced the report of the Conference and Takao Shibata, the rapporteur of Main Committee, introduced his report in A/CONF.167/L.6 and addenda 1-16. Both reports were adopted.

Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, then introduced a short resolution on adoption of texts on the sustainable development of small island developing States (A/CONF.167/L.8), which adopts both the Programme of Action and the Barbados Declaration. At this point, the Secretariat also introduced a statement on the programme budget implications (PBI) of the draft Programme of Action (A/CONF.167/L.1/Add.1). The PBI calls for the addition of one new professional staff member and one general staff member to coordinate Conference follow-up within the UN Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD). Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of AOSIS, stated that they are not sure that the programme budget implications are adequately laid out. She proposed that this issue be revisited during the 49th General Assembly later this year. The US welcomed the PBI and said it was looking forward to refining and implementing these arrangements within the context of UN reform and budgetary policy. Australia and Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, supported AOSIS and said further discussion is necessary. Greece, on behalf of the EU, reserved his group's position on the PBI until they had time to examine it more closely. After those comments, the resolution was adopted.

After adoption, several delegations made comments for the record. The Holy See confirmed that its acceptance of the paragraphs that reference family planning in Chapter XIV does not constitute a change in its position on the family planning methods that the Catholic Church considers unacceptable and the services that do not respect the rights of those concerned. Malta underlined its understanding of family planning, namely that the interpretation in this Programme of Action is in accordance with the International Conference on Population held in Mexico City in 1984.

The President of the Conference, Erskine Sandiford, then delivered a presidential summary of the results of the High-Level Segment and the roundtable. He said that the roundtable provided an important opportunity for an open and frank exchange of views at a high political level on issues related to sustainable development for SIDS and the challenges that the international community and SIDS themselves face in this area.

Sandiford then introduced a draft resolution on the elections in South Africa (A/CONF.167/L.9). He said that coinciding with this Conference, Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. This resolution, which congratulates the people of South Africa on the historic elections, was adopted by acclamation and will be transmitted to the newly-elected government in South Africa. Sandiford also congratulated the Israeli and Palestinian people for the agreement that they have just signed and wished them every success.

Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, then introduced a draft resolution expressing gratitude to the people and Government of Barbados (A/CONF.167/L.7). This resolution was also adopted and then delegations took the floor to express their thanks. Speakers included: Nauru, on behalf of the South Pacific Forum; Algeria, on behalf of the G-77; Greece, on behalf of the EU; Romania, on behalf of the Eastern European States; Germany, on behalf of the Western European and Others Group; Mauritius, on behalf of the Indian Ocean islands; the US; and Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of AOSIS. In her statement, AOSIS Chair Annette des Iles said that now that we have adopted the Programme of Action and the Barbados Declaration it is clear that the human will to cooperate for the greater good has triumphed and we have achieved the primary objectives of this global Conference, of which we can all be justifiably satisfied. This is a practical programme that will yield concrete benefits. However, the Programme of Action is as yet only a document. She said that members of the international community need to maintain the spirit of tenacity and cooperation with which this Conference has been imbued to ensure the successful implementation of the Programme of Action.

After concluding statements by Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development Nitin Desai and Conference President Sandiford, the Conference was gavelled to a close and participants went out into the lobby of the Sherbourne Center to dance the calypso and enjoy the food, drink and music of the small island developing State of Barbados.

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