PROGRAMME OF ACTION:
The major accomplishment of the
Conference was the agreement on a comprehensive Programme of Action
for the sustainable development of SIDS. The Programme of Action is
significant in that SIDS are dealt with holistically and not, as
has been traditionally the case, just "coral reefs and beaches."
Unlike Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, which calls for national and
international actions, this policy blueprint specifies measures to
be taken at the national, regional and international levels. This
Programme of Action has not only filled the regional gap, but has
gone on to elaborate specific strategies for enhancing regional and
sub-regional cooperation on each of the fourteen subject areas
covered by the Programme of Action in such a way that it is not
just a repetition, but builds on Agenda 21. As such, it reflects
accurately on the concept of common, but differentiated,
responsibilities. Whereas no major new and additional financial
resources are identified in the Programme of Action, there are
specific recommendations on efficiency and re-prioritization of
existing resources. This was reinforced in the statements of many
of the donor countries during the High-Level Segment who signaled
that SIDS should now receive greater proportions of existing aid.
The successful negotiation of this Programme of Action is also a
tribute to the array of diplomatic skills on display from Amb.
Penelope Wensley, who chaired both the Preparatory Committee and
the Main Committee at the Conference. Her deployment of small
contact groups during the Conference was effective in diffusing
potential tensions and allowing agreements to be struck on such
contentious issues as finance, intellectual property rights,
transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and family planning.