Published by the
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)
Vol. 8 No. 36
Friday, 30 January 2004
SIDS INTER-REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS:
THURSDAY, 29 JANUARY 2004
In the morning, delegates met in Plenary to hear
statements by Ministers, Heads of Delegation, observer States and
Heads of Organization. An informal ministerial consultation took
place in the afternoon to discuss the draft Political Declaration
and the draft Strategy for the Further Implementation of the BPOA.
Following the informal ministerial consultation, participants met in
Plenary and were briefed on the schedule for Friday’s proceedings.
The drafting group met in the evening to revise the draft
Declaration and draft Strategy for consideration by the Plenary on
On implementation of sustainable development
strategies, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO and the UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (ECLAC) drew attention to the
inadequate integration of the BPOA into national and regional
planning processes and urged greater involvement of civil society.
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES and the COMOROS identified poverty
as a major impediment to sustainable development. ECLAC highlighted,
inter alia, insufficient financial resources and weak
institutional capacity as obstacles to the implementation of the
BPOA. KIRIBATI emphasized the importance of product diversification,
education and training, communications and transport and ecotourism
in achieving sustainable development.
Stressing the link between environment and
development, THE NATURE CONSERVANCY said there is a need for a
strong SIDS voice at the forefront of the international sustainable
development debate, and announced a partnership with the WORLDWIDE
FUND FOR NATURE (WWF), governments and other civil society
organizations to support marine biodiversity and sustainable
On the meeting’s outcomes, the US VIRGIN ISLANDS
said it has limited access to technical organizations and UN
programmes and, with the WORLD METEROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION (WMO),
emphasized that the draft Strategy should focus on implementation of
the BPOA. ITALY underscored the need to synthesize the conclusions
of the regional meetings.
On the outcomes of the International Meeting,
TONGA recognized the opportunity to mainstream the BPOA review
beyond the International Meeting into activities under UN bodies and
the secretariats of relevant multilateral environmental agreements.
NEW ZEALAND recommended that the outcomes of the International
Meeting recognize the need to assist SIDS in developing appropriate,
affordable and cost-effective adaptation measures to respond to
climate change. ITALY, GERMANY, AUSTRALIA and numerous
intergovernmental organizations underlined their support to SIDS and
to achieving a successful outcome to the International Meeting.
ECLAC said the implementation of Agenda 21 and
the International Meeting’s outcomes should be pursued at the
regional and subregional levels, through regional commissions and
other subregional bodies. The UNEP urged SIDS to focus on: priority
setting based on the BPOA, JPOI and MDGs; programmatic activities at
the regional and inter-regional levels; regional and international
cooperation; obtaining funding from the GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY
(GEF); and implementing partnerships. The INTERNATIONAL
TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION suggested that the outcomes of the
International Meeting should be coordinated and integrated with the
activities of relevant UN agencies. The PAN AMERICAN HEALTH
ORGANIZATION/WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION said health-related issues
should be a priority outcome of the International Meeting with a
particular focus on non-communicable diseases and HIV/ AIDS.
The CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM called on governments to include targets and
time-bound actions in the draft Strategy to address sustainable
development in SIDS, urged formalization and strengthening of the
structure of AOSIS, and underscored the need to ensure full and
active civil society participation at the International Meeting.
On climate change, the COMOROS called for the
application of the principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities and the support of the international community.
KIRIBATI described the social and economic consequences of sea-level
rise and climate change, noting that these impacts have been
exacerbated by environmental degradation and population growth.
ICELAND said the Arctic environment is as an indicator of climatic
change. GERMANY and ICELAND stressed the need to promote and
implement renewable energy initiatives. The WMO said it would
continue to help SIDS address natural disasters and build capacity
for disaster management.
On marine and coastal resources, ICELAND noted
the reliance of SIDS on marine resources and the need for improved
ocean resource assessments, reporting and management. The CARIBBEAN
REGIONAL FISHERIES MECHANISM said Caribbean SIDS face many
challenges regarding the sustainable management of fisheries and
aquatic resources. He urged governments to increase information for
decision making, and increase capacity for the sustainable
management of oceans and fisheries.
On trade-related issues, several SIDS urged the
international community to recognize the vulnerability of SIDS.
DOMINICA and others called for preferential and differentiated
treatment. SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES noted the limited role
SIDS play in trade negotiations and described the social and
economic consequences of trade barriers to SIDS exports. AUSTRALIA
underlined the need to conclude the Doha Round and for the improved
participation of SIDS in that process. NEW ZEALAND said that the
International Meeting should emphasize the importance attached to
the successful outcome of the Doha Round, particularly in removing
trade distorting policies in the agriculture sector.
On cooperation and coordination, SAINT VINCENT
AND THE GRENADINES said unity among SIDS must be encouraged, and
DOMINICA underlined the importance of regional integration.
On capacity building and financial assistance,
SURINAME stressed the need for institutional strengthening to build
the resilience of SIDS. The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT said 60% of its
technical assistance programmes are directed to small States and
expressed its commitment to help SIDS meet their capacity building
and technology transfer needs. The GEF informed participants of its
Capacity Development Initiative and noted that it has financed 163
national projects and 15 regional projects for SIDS totalling US$507
million to help them address environmental challenges that affect
economic and social development.
UNEP reported on its: preparation of regional
booklets on the state of the environment in SIDS; review of
subregional position papers on sustainable development; assistance
to AIMS and African SIDS; preparation of elements of a proposed
Caribbean SIDS Programme; and facilitation of capacity building
workshops in SIDS. Noting that his organization is responsible for
coordinating the implementation of the BPOA within the Asia and
Pacific region, ESCAP outlined training and assistance programmes
for SIDS. The COMMONWEALTH SECRETARIAT informed participants that it
is addressing challenges faced by SIDS, such as lack of
participation in trade negotiations, the promotion of foreign
investment and the consequences of "September 11" on tourism.
IN THE DRAFTING GROUP
Following an all night session, delegates in the
drafting group concluded their work on the draft Political
Declaration and the draft Strategy for the Further Implementation of
the BPOA at 5:00 am on Thursday. In the afternoon, ministers and
heads of delegation convened for an informal consultation to
exchange initial views on the draft outcome documents. Ministers
mandated the drafting group to reconvene to incorporate their
concerns. Following detailed discussions, the drafting group
concluded its work with a revised Political Declaration and draft
Strategy, which will be considered in Plenary on Friday.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Participants milling in the corridors and waiting
to hear the outcome of the ministerial consultations were rewarded
in the late afternoon with a resounding applause stemming from the
ministers in the closed-door meeting. According to some delegates,
ministers and other high-level representatives were actively engaged
in the review of the draft documents. The ministerial consultations
discussed, inter alia, language regarding good governance,
whether or not to prohibit the passage of ships transporting toxic
or radioactive substances through SIDS’ waters, and LDC graduation.
On good governance, some high-level representatives highlighted that
this was a concern of the donor countries and not of SIDS, while
others supported such a reference.
On another issue, several delegates are not too
optimistic about getting support from both the G-77/China and the
donor community for recognizing SIDS as a special and preferential
group within the WTO, despite this being a critical issue for many
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Participants will convene at 9:00 am
in Plenary to consider and approve the revised draft Political
Declaration and draft Strategy for the Further Implementation of the
CLOSING CEREMONY: The closing ceremony is
scheduled to take place at 3:00 pm.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth
Negotiations Bulletin’s summary and analysis report will be
available on Monday, 2 February 2004 on the IISD Linkages website