The Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) took place in Nadi, Fiji, from 10-12 July 2013. This was the second of three regional meetings in preparation for the Conference in Apia, Samoa in September 2014 (Apia Conference). The meeting aimed to: assess progress and remaining gaps in implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation (MSI); seek a renewed political commitment; identify new and emerging challenges and opportunities for sustainable development of SIDS; and identify priorities for the sustainable development of SIDS to be considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.
Approximately 100 delegates attended the three-day meeting, including representatives of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. American Samoa, Tokelau and New Caledonia attended some sessions of the meeting. Major Group representatives and staff of UN and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) attended the open sessions and took part in parallel discussions.
At the end of the second day, Major Groups and development partners presented a joint statement to delegates. Youth representatives presented a video and separate statement. On the third day, delegates discussed the statements of partners, and agreed to incorporate their input in the final meeting outcome. A drafting group worked on outcome text in the afternoon, and the meeting reconvened at 6:40 pm. Delegates acknowledged a working draft as being adopted. Delegates agreed that the document would represent the Pacific region’s contribution to the Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting to be held in Barbados in August 2013.
Two side events were organized on the eve of the meeting, 9 July 2013. The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Global Green Growth Institute held an all-day seminar on green growth as an approach to achieving sustainable development; and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) conducted an event, “Sustainable development starts with children, youth and women.”
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE SIDS CONFERENCES
The vulnerability of islands and coastal areas was recognized by the 44th session of the UN General Assembly in 1989, when it passed resolution 44/206 on the possible adverse effects of sea-level rise on islands and coastal areas, particularly low-lying coastal areas. The 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, brought the special case of small islands and coastal areas to international attention when it adopted Agenda 21, a programme of action for sustainable development. Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, on the protection of oceans, all kinds of seas and coastal areas, included a programme area on the sustainable development of small islands. Agenda 21 also called for a global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS.
GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS: Established by UN General Assembly resolution 47/189, the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS was held in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 25 April - 6 May 1994. The Conference adopted the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (BPOA), a 14-point programme that identifies priority areas and specific actions necessary for addressing special challenges faced by SIDS. The priority areas are: climate change and sea-level rise, natural and environmental disasters, management of wastes, coastal and marine resources, freshwater resources, land resources, energy resources, tourism resources, biodiversity resources, national institutions and administrative capacity, regional institutions and technical cooperation, transport and communication, science and technology, and human resource development. The BPOA further identified cross-sectoral areas requiring attention: capacity building; institutional development at the national, regional and international levels; cooperation in the transfer of environmentally sound technologies; trade and economic diversification; and finance. The Conference also adopted the Barbados Declaration, a statement of political will underpinning the commitments contained in the BPOA.
The UN Commission on Sustainable Development was given the responsibility to follow up on the implementation of the BPOA.
UNGASS-22: In September 1999, the 22nd Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS-22) undertook a comprehensive review and appraisal of the implementation of the BPOA. The Special Session adopted the “State of Progress and Initiatives for the Future Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS,” which identified six areas in need of urgent attention: climate change, natural and environmental disasters and climate variability, freshwater resources, coastal and marine resources, energy, and tourism. In addition, the Special Session highlighted the need to focus on means of implementation. The Special Session also adopted a declaration in which member states, inter alia, reaffirmed the principles of, and their commitment to, sustainable development as embodied in Agenda 21, the Barbados Declaration and the BPOA.
MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: In September 2000, at the UN Millennium Summit in New York, world leaders adopted the UN Millennium Declaration (General Assembly resolution 55/2) and, in doing so, resolved to address the special needs of SIDS by implementing the BPOA and the outcome of UNGASS-22 rapidly and in full.
WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD reaffirmed the special case of SIDS, dedicating a chapter of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to the sustainable development of SIDS that identified a set of priority actions, called for a full and comprehensive review of the BPOA in 2004, and requested the General Assembly at its 57th session to consider convening an international meeting on the sustainable development of SIDS.
UNGA-57: In December 2002, the 57th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 57/262, in which the Assembly decided to convene an international meeting in 2004 to undertake a full and comprehensive review of the implementation of the BPOA, and welcomed the offer by the Government of Mauritius to host the meeting. The UNGA also decided that the review should focus on practical and pragmatic actions for the further implementation of the BPOA, including through the mobilization of resources and assistance for SIDS.
INTERNATIONAL MEETING TO REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BPOA: The International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS convened from 10-14 January 2005, in Port Louis, Mauritius. Plenary panels convened on the themes of: environmental vulnerabilities of SIDS; special challenges of SIDS in trade and economic development; the role of culture in the sustainable development of SIDS; addressing emerging trends and social challenges regarding sustainable development of SIDS; and building resilience in SIDS. The high-level segment addressed the “Comprehensive review of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS.” At the conclusion of the meeting, delegates adopted the Mauritius Declaration and the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action on the Sustainable Development of SIDS (MSI).
MSI+5: The High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (MSI+5) was held from 24-25 September 2010 at UN Headquarters in New York. Delegates participated in two multi-stakeholder roundtables, which focused on reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience of SIDS and enhancing international support for SIDS, and an interactive dialogue on cross-regional perspectives on common issues and priorities for the way forward. The major outcome of the meeting was a political declaration that elaborates new and renewed commitments to implement the BPOA and the MSI.
RIO+20: The third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20), Pre-Conference Informal Consultations facilitated by the host country, and the UNCSD convened back-to-back in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012. Government delegations concluded negotiations on the Conference outcome document, entitled The Future We Want. Paragraphs 178-180 reaffirm that SIDS are a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities, including their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks, including climate change and natural disasters. The Future We Want also called for convening in 2014 a third international conference on SIDS, building on the BPOA and MSI.
UNGA 67: Resolution 67/207, Follow-up to and Implementation of the MSI, set up the modalities for the 2014 International Conference on Small Island Developing States, welcomed the offer of the Government of Samoa to host the conference, and called for the conference to: assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the BPOA and the MSI; seek a renewed political commitment by all countries to address effectively the special needs and vulnerabilities of SIDS by focusing on practical and pragmatic actions; identify new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS; and identify priorities for the SIDS for consideration, as appropriate, in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.
The General Assembly agreed that in 2013 there would be a regional preparatory meeting in each of the three SIDS regions as well as an inter-regional preparatory meeting for all SIDS to identify and develop input for the conference. The 68th session of the General Assembly will determine the modalities for the UN intergovernmental preparatory process, which will begin in early 2014.
CARIBBEAN REGIONAL PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES: This meeting was the first of three regional events in preparation for the global conference. The meeting, held from 2-4 July 2013 in Kingston, Jamaica, issued a 44-paragraph document (the “Kingston Outcome”) reaffirming earlier commitments including the BPOA, the MSI and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. The Kingston Outcome identified constraints to achieving sustainable development of SIDS, including, inter alia: a lack of political will on the part of most developed countries to fulfill their commitments; SIDS’ vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters, and related impacts on the tourism industry; and the classification of many Caribbean SIDS as middle to high-income countries, which excludes them from some sources of development aid. It called for new, additional and predictable financial resources for sustainable development, including relevant regional financing mechanisms. It highlighted the role of women and youth; the challenges and opportunities of migration; and international climate-related mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Technology Centre and Network. Other issues addressed included, inter alia: community empowerment; regional and national disaster risk reduction; a people-centered approach to poverty eradication; strengthening of health systems; and debt relief for small, indebted middle-income countries.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
On Wednesday morning, 10 July, the UNDESA Secretariat welcomed participants and introduced the guest speakers. Amena Yauvoli, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Fiji, chaired the meeting.
Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, highlighted the importance of the meeting for PICs to exchange views, and discuss regional priorities and perspectives towards the Apia Conference. He emphasized the need for a Pacific position to guide the region, and assured the meeting of the UN system’s support for the SIDS agenda.
Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) Chair Marlene Moses, Nauru, urged Pacific SIDS to speak out, in keeping with their independent nature. She called for clear and focused roadmaps towards achievable goals. She said the Pacific region needs to shift from capacity building to institutional strengthening, building on compelling and well-crafted plans that demonstrate the strength of the region. Recalling Pacific leaders’ focus on the “blue economy” at Rio+20, she reminded delegates of the need for regional solidarity toward a successful outcome at the end of the meeting.
John Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda, President-Elect of the UN General Assembly, pledged his full support for the preparatory process and the Apia Conference. He noted that the conference preparations coincide with the process to define the post-2015 development agenda, stressing the opportunity to ensure that SIDS are given special consideration. He highlighted needs for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, vulnerability analysis, social safety nets, and maximizing the benefits of the tourism industry.
Ashe presented priority topics that will be considered during the 68th General Assembly through special events and debates, including: the role of women, youth and civil society; human rights and the rule of law; South-South and triangular cooperation; information and communications technologies (ICTs) for development; the role of partnerships in ensuring stable and peaceful societies; and water and sanitation. He emphasized that neither the BPOA, nor the MSI, nor the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on their own will be sufficient to achieve sustainable development, highlighting the need for an enabling environment.
Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, challenged participants to be bold in their deliberations towards a concise position. He underscored the need for Pacific SIDS to ensure that their ideas are adopted at the international level, and encouraged delegates to come up with practical and affordable solutions to the issues facing the region. He emphasized the need for good governance, strengthened institutions, and regional frameworks in order to reach achievable outcomes on sustainable development. On climate change, the Prime Minister called on countries with high carbon emissions to shoulder the cost of the impacts of climate change in the Pacific, noting Kiribati’s purchase of 6000 acres of land in Fiji in anticipation of displacement as a result of climate change. He urged high-emitting countries to take such cases into account and work on remedial actions as soon as possible.
After a delegates’ photo session on Wednesday morning, Shun-ichi Murata, ESCAP, introduced a synthesis report on feedback from national consultations. He noted that: Pacific countries’ views did not deviate from the main themes of global discussions on sustainable development, which emphasized: “no one should be left behind;” growth should be inclusive; governments and institutions should be accountable, transparent, honest and responsive to citizens’ needs; and partnerships between governments, civil society and the private sector should be renewed and strengthened.
Iosefa Maiava, ESCAP Pacific Centre, presented the regional synthesis report, which he said drew on the 14 Pacific SIDS’ national assessment reports. He highlighted the leadership of Pacific nations in marine parks and conservation, and on the global oceans agenda. Maiava said the report identified three clusters of goals: addressing climate change impacts, especially ocean acidification and disasters; critical enablers including good governance and sustainable economic management; and means of implementation (MoI), including development partnerships, development financing and triangular cooperation. He highlighted new and emerging issues of importance to Pacific countries, including: health and non-communicable diseases (NCDs); social inclusion, especially of women, youth and people with disabilities; population pressures; ICTs; and transportation. He noted countries’ desire to see improvements in leadership, and for re-investing in human capital, as well as the “relatively new” language and perspectives coming out of the national assessment reports, which mention: violence against women, NCDs, the economic cost of dependence on fossil fuels, the economic value of ecosystems, and the economic impacts and causes of climate change, with some countries also mentioning the green economy as a tool for transformation. On MoI, he reported that countries have highlighted the need for fulfillment of official development assistance (ODA) targets and climate financing, and for making MoI “more transformative.” He observed that technology transfer can bring new environmental challenges, such as the batteries that come with solar panels, highlighting that countries need assistance in clarifying what is appropriate and relevant. On capacity building and transfer, he proposed that some of the smaller PICs need “supplementation” in addition to capacity building.
Maiava emphasized the need for national priorities to inform the regional position, and encouraged Member States to have open discussions on responsibilities, accountabilities and shared risks.
The Chair thanked ESCAP for the report and encouraged interactive, open and frank discussions using the synthesis report as a guide in deliberations.
Papua New Guinea reiterated the need to consider the MDGs while addressing the preliminary issues relating to sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Samoa, supported by the Cook Islands, reminded delegates that respect needs to be given to national approaches and frameworks.
Murata reminded the meeting that accelerating the MDGs is an important step for the Pacific, while also focusing on transitional measures from 2014 onwards.
Nikhil Seth, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), noted that the words “transformative and ambitious agenda” had been used throughout the history of environmental conventions and the development agenda. He said that separate multilateral processes have addressed the interrelated issues in the categories of human deprivation, the physical environment, and planetary boundaries. He called on delegates to focus on integration of issues, coherence, and implementation.
On Wednesday morning, Chair Yauvoli advised the meeting that five of the meeting sessions would be closed, and that parallel discussions would be organized for other participants, where they would be briefed on the progress of discussions. He presented the meeting agenda, which was then adopted.
On Wednesday afternoon, Pacific SIDS members met in a closed meeting to discuss the status of observers. They agreed that as Secretary-General of the 2014 Apia Conference, Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo could observe the closed discussions between parties, while other representatives of UN bodies, observer states, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Major Groups would be asked to attend parallel open sessions.
The closed consultations continued on Thursday morning and part of the afternoon.
OVERVIEW OF NATIONAL PROCESSES AND OUTCOMES; PROGRESS TO DATE AND THE REMAINING GAPS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BPOA AND THE MSI, AND PRACTICAL AND PRAGMATIC ACTIONS FOR FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF THE BPOA AND MSI
On Wednesday morning and afternoon, Pacific SIDS members took part in three closed sessions. They formed a drafting committee to work on an outcome document, and proceeded to identify issues for discussion, focusing at length on the place of climate change on the sustainable development agenda.
They discussed the need for urgent action on climate change, including action to address slow-onset events such as drought, as well as catastrophic events and weather pattern changes. They noted that the current methodology underestimates the extent of loss and damage, and emphasized the need for better measures of assessment as well as building national capacity for carrying out such assessments. They discussed the security aspects of climate change, noting the threat to countries’ sovereignty. They observed that forced relocation will affect Pacific people’s identity and wellbeing, stressing that those who are forced to leave their homes should be able to migrate with dignity.
Many delegates expressed the view that action under the UNFCCC has been too slow, and that ambitious targets for the pre-2020 period should be put forward. On climate change financing, they discussed the mutual responsibilities of development partners and climate change-affected countries. They said that partners should ensure that support for countries is available and that systems for accessing funding are not too complicated, while countries should map their national priorities and ensure that they address and manage capacity needs. They discussed the conduct of Climate Public Expenditure and Institutional Reviews (CPEIRs), and the possibility of a climate change adaptation trust fund for SIDS.
WEDNESDAY PARALLEL SESSION
On Wednesday afternoon, Major Groups and development partners discussed the Regional Synthesis Report. Participants highlighted issues including, inter alia: the need for strengthened partnerships that include youth, civil society organizations (CSOs), IGOs and the private sector; avoiding a “single template” approach across Pacific SIDS; allowing for national priorities to be addressed; and ensuring that an inclusive approach is taken on issues that are addressed in the national reports. Calling for practical solutions, they suggested several elements be emphasized in the outcome of this meeting, including climate change, health, oceans, indigenous rights, and strengthened partnerships for development.
NEW AND EMERGING CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE REGION, AND WAYS AND MEANS TO ADDRESS THEM
On Thursday morning, Member States continued to meet in closed sessions. They completed the previous day’s discussion on climate change, addressing the proposed hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) amendment to the Montreal Protocol and its phased implementation. They discussed health issues, including achievements towards the MDGs and remaining gaps. Delegates noted that while communicable diseases including HIV/AIDS remain an issue, NCDs such as diabetes and hypertension are a rising problem across the Pacific. They stressed the need for adequate data and monitoring, sharing knowledge on cancer, and implementing sustainable health programmes, including addressing child health and disabilities.
On social inclusion, they discussed culture as an enabler and driver for social development, and acknowledged the social impact of climate change, especially on women and children. They also discussed links between biodiversity and culture. They stressed that sustainable development should be rights-based, citing the importance of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). They called for a focus on engagement and partnership.
REGIONAL PRIORITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SIDS, INCLUDING IN THE ELABORATION OF THE POST-2015 UN DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
In the closed session on Thursday morning, delegates worked through a matrix of priorities that Member States had previously identified, which were reflected in the Regional Synthesis Report. Among the issues discussed were health; social inclusion; infrastructure, including urbanization and waste management; energy; oceans; and sustainable resource management and protection.
On health, they recognized that while progress towards health-related MDGs has been made, there is still much work to be done. They noted that NCDs such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes cause up to 75% of deaths in the region, and that three out of every four adults are obese and four out of every five adults smoke.
On social inclusion, they said the BPOA and MSI did not effectively capture social impacts, and that clear targets and indicators are needed to make the link to social development. They especially noted the role of culture as a driver and enabler of sustainable development, especially in the preservation of biodiversity. Delegates discussed support for the Pacific Regional Cultural Strategy “Investing in Pacific Cultures 2010-2020,” which was endorsed by the Pacific region as a basis for integrating culture into sustainable development strategies.
They highlighted the need for better monitoring and evaluation of the effects of climate change on infrastructure. Delegates argued that it is necessary to make a special case for providing infrastructure, considering human elements and equity of development, to serve smaller and more isolated communities. They affirmed that ICTs and transportation systems should not be viewed only as factors of economic development, since connecting people is also necessary for social development.
On energy, they noted the Tonga Energy Roadmap as an example of the national planning and commitment that is needed to make progress, and the Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum in Barbados as a way to build awareness and political commitment for renewable energy. They noted, however that not every country in the Pacific will build a complete electricity grid, and that energy projects, including rural electrification, should be based on national circumstances.
On sustainable resource management, they discussed threats to tuna populations, including illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; overcapitalization of fishing fleets; inadequate enforcement; ineffective management of resources and associated species; and marine pollution. They commented that climate change remains an overarching threat to the productivity and distribution of biological resources. Other threats, such as population pressure on limited resource bases and fragile ecosystems, were also discussed.
THURSDAY PARALLEL SESSION
While Pacific SIDS members met on Thursday morning, Ambassadors Robert Aisi, Papua New Guinea, Sofia Borges, Timor-Leste, and Marlene Moses, Nauru, gave a briefing to Major Groups and development partners on progress made in the closed sessions on Wednesday afternoon. Aisi emphasized the wish of Member States to have “a very substantive dialogue” at the Barbados Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting through presenting a strong and coherent position from the Pacific region. In response to Major Groups’ concerns about access to the meeting, Borges said that countries needed to clarify their own positions and challenge one another before talking to development partners. She highlighted that Member States had discussed prioritizing climate change on the agenda of the Apia Conference. Moses stressed that climate change should be reflected in other processes besides the UNFCCC, and should be seen as a security issue for the Pacific, saying that, “climate change, security and sustainable development are one and the same.”
Major Groups and development partners then discussed topics and strategies for statements on implementation and partnerships, in preparation for Thursday afternoon’s interactive dialogues.
Murata chaired the Major Groups’ discussion and circulated a table of priorities based on the Regional Synthesis Report. The priorities identified were: climate change; health, especially NCDs; social inclusion; infrastructure and urbanization, including water, energy, ICTs and transport; and sustainable resource management, including oceans and fisheries, food security, land, agriculture, forestry, tourism and biodiversity. The table also identified “enablers,” which were groups of enabling conditions under the headings of governance; inclusive and sustainable economic management; and MoI and partnerships.
Coral Pasisi, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) suggested partners come up with strategies to respond to the next Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report, which is expected to state that the trajectory of global warming has worsened.
Denny Lewis-Bynoe, Commonwealth Secretariat, said the outcome document should not be “a shopping list,” but should have attainable goals.
On behalf of youth, Jean Choi, UNICEF, expressed willingness to partner with governments on implementation, and circulated key messages from the Pacific SIDS youth forum held the previous week. Other participants raised issues of: asymmetries of knowledge and power in international negotiations; social inclusion policies; and the need for better data and information on fiscal policies.
Aisi encouraged participants to propose specific actions that can be included in funding proposals.
Murata suggested that joint knowledge-sharing efforts could begin to address asymmetries of knowledge, and noted that ageing populations are also an issue in the Pacific region.
Aisi acknowledged that while Pacific nations are signatories to many conventions, such as the UNCRC and CEDAW, there are some compliance issues. He stressed the need for “genuine and durable” partnerships to implement measures for sustainable and inclusive development, and affirmed the role of central governments in creating an enabling environment for partnerships. He highlighted the ongoing work of Pacific country representatives in New York towards developing an SDG on oceans.
The discussion continued through the morning, with participants highlighting, inter alia: implications of climate change for food, water and human security; outcomes of recent forums and the upcoming conference to adopt the Minamata Convention on Mercury; the role of culture and faith-based groups in the region; knowledge-sharing efforts including IISD Reporting Services’ SIDS Policy and Practice website and SIDS-L mailing list, and some positive results of regional efforts and work with partners, including progress on specific MDGs and peer reviews of development effectiveness within the region.
They suggested several elements to be emphasized during the afternoon’s open dialogue, including, inter alia: the need to see climate change as a human rights issue, the importance of oceans to the region and the world, the need for renewable energy, and the need for better data collection on progress toward MDGs. Participants then broke into small drafting groups to work on a joint statement.
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH MAJOR GROUPS AND ALL RELEVANT STAKEHOLDERS OF THE REGION ON THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
On Thursday afternoon, Major Groups, development partners and government representatives took part in open discussions. Chair Yauvoli presented the priorities that had been identified by countries during the closed meetings.
Among the priorities identified were: climate change-related issues and impacts; social inclusion; energy; oceans; and sustainable resource management, including food security, forestry, and tourism. Countries had also identified “enablers” such as governance, including leadership, political will, transparency, human rights, peace and security; inclusive and sustainable economic value; and MoI, including partnerships for financing, capacity development and regional integration.
Fekitamoeloa `Utoikamanu, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) then presented the joint statement of Major Groups and development partners.
The statement highlighted two key issues: accountability for implementing the outcomes of the 2014 Apia Conference; and the need to respond to climate change impacts, particularly in relation to coastal food sources, agricultural and subsistence crop species and biodiversity, access to fresh water and sanitation, predicted increase in the severity of high-category cyclones and migratory patterns of pelagic fish species.
The statement contained recommendations on six key issues: adaptation financing and capacity; funding for mitigation activities with co-benefits for development; disaster risk reduction and management; renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation; oceans; and social inclusion.
On adaptation financing, it called for secure and sustainable financing arrangements for SIDS, and the use of country systems to disburse resources wherever possible.
On disaster risk reduction and management, the statement noted that the increasing frequency of natural disasters had set back development in the region, and encouraged continued partnerships to ensure timely recovery, acknowledging the work of the Joint Platform on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction.
On renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation, they called for moving towards 100% renewable energy use, and acknowledged the SIDS DOCK programme.
On oceans, they highlighted current initiatives, including the Pacific Oceanscape Framework approved by leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum.
On social inclusion, they called for greater efforts on gender equality, disability, NCDs, sexually transmitted infections (STI), education and inclusive policies.
`Utoikamanu mentioned the need to report progress on human rights treaties that Pacific nations have signed, noting that the Pacific is often missing from global reports. She highlighted South-South partnerships and mobilization of domestic resources as being essential to addressing resource gaps.
Youth delegates presented a two-minute video and statement identifying four issues important to youth: access to quality education, youth employment, health, and action on climate change. Elenoa Kaisau, on behalf of youth, called for a solid foundation of good governance, including freedom of information and freedom from crime, violence and discrimination. She called on governments to build strong partnerships with young men and women, including those from rural areas, and of all sexual orientations.
She recommended prioritizing environmental issues in the school system, and for age-appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health to be included in school curriculums, noting that cultural norms mean such issues are often not discussed. She highlighted the need for young people to have greater access to youth-friendly health services, and for programmes to be inclusive of children with disabilities.
She urged the private sector to provide decent work for young people, and called for an enabling environment that will provide access to finance, skill building and training, and opportunities for employment.
In conclusion, she told a story from the elders of Tokelau about the use of traditional canoes that are central to providing food and transport to extended families, explaining that a family’s canoe is not for private use but is shared and can be passed on from generation to generation. She said, “The canoe reminds us about sustainable development…the great canoe of the world sails under your guidance as we paddle with our passion.”
The Solomon Islands suggested mentioning in the document the need to manage population growth and the ageing population in the Pacific.
Papua New Guinea acknowledged that reservations had been voiced earlier regarding the structure of the meeting, and congratulated partners on the quality of the documentation they had produced, urging everyone to work together as “we are in the same canoe.”
When the session continued on Friday morning, the Federated States of Micronesia requested comments from Major Groups and partners on three issues: ODA conditions requiring greater transparency on spending; culture as an enabler and driver of sustainable development; and the ongoing SPC-European Union (EU) Pacific Deep Sea Minerals Project, which assists PICs to improve the governance and management of deep-sea minerals resources through improved legal frameworks, increased technical capacity and effective monitoring systems.
In response, AusAID highlighted her organization’s commitment to transparency, which includes agreeing to be reviewed under the Forum Compact Peer Review process, improving development effectiveness within countries, and committing to transparency initiatives.
`Utoikamanu highlighted the SPC’s project on cultural mapping, which aims to enhance human development efforts by structuring and strengthening the cultural sector. On deep sea mining, she noted that the SPC works on policy, draft legislation and implementation, and responds to needs identified by Member States.
Papua New Guinea said that the Major Groups’ statement would be included “either fully or partly” in the meeting outcome document. He expressed concern, however, that the Major Groups’ statement lacked a focus on implementation, urging stakeholders to specify actions that can be taken. He also raised the issue of ageing as a concern.
Murata said ageing also relates to employment and productivity issues, and should be considered in relation to social safety nets. He observed that the issues of ageing populations compounded with NCDs had not been reflected in the report, and recommended including them.
On behalf of women, Noelene Nabulivou, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), requested countries to include in the outcome document: the role of women in care and reproduction, and its economic value; the need to avoid toxic legacies to future generations from nuclear and mining activities; the need to dismantle unfair monetary and trade rules; and support for gender equality and women’s rights. She called on Pacific SIDS to play a leadership role in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), noting its importance on issues of marine pollution. She also called for international and national rules and safeguards on mining, protection of bio-cultural users, and protection from negative impacts of large-scale monocultures.
Timor-Leste supported the comments by women, and the need to ensure participation of “50% of the population.” She encouraged stakeholders to use UN Women as a platform, reminding them that the Solomon Islands is currently on the executive board. She agreed with Papua New Guinea that the document should be action-oriented. She said that ageing is not a priority issue for Timor-Leste, which is experiencing a youth bulge and needs to provide opportunities for young people, in order to avoid political instability.
Setareki Macanawai, Pacific Disability Forum, called on countries to sign the CRPD, and for those countries that have signed on, to ratify.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) noted the trend away from individual pension schemes and toward universal social safety nets.
Samoa stressed that formal social protection systems need to be affordable. Several countries supported her suggestion that the outcomes of countries’ deliberations, and the statement provided by Major Groups and development partners, be integrated into a single outcome document.
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) called for implementation to be economy-wide and sector-wide, with stronger coordination between government agencies and between governments and development partners, greater involvement of communities in service delivery, and measurement of concrete results in human terms at the household level. She stressed the need to scale up beyond demonstration activities, and drew attention to the CPEIR process, which provides countries with a better view of how funds are being used.
Fiu Mataese, O le Siosiomaga Society, noted the need to watch progress on the Pacific Plan, and said much of climate change funding is not new money but rather ODA that has been “repackaged” to appear so.
Fiji drew attention to the need for triangular cooperation, and greater cooperation between parties in the region. With Kiribati, she recalled parties had agreed to no longer call development partners “donors.”
Kiribati called for building capacity and resilience along with sustainability, and noted the support of development partners and Major Groups for her country’s preparations to face forced migration with dignity and pride.
Timor-Leste, supported by Papua New Guinea and Niue, expressed concern over the transactional and overhead costs of routing financing through the UN system.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands mentioned fisheries conservation as a key issue for sustainable development in the Pacific. He noted that “partnerships” for sustainable development need not be formally approved or registered by the UN, for example, those related to private-sector involvement in fisheries and tourism. He announced that a side event on climate leadership would be held at the September 2013 Pacific Island Forum Leaders’ Meeting in his country.
Tahere Siisiialafia, Pacific Youth Council, urged Member States to support their national youth councils and other youth representative bodies. She said the idea of inclusion could be addressed through working in partnership with such bodies, giving them the resources, and allowing them the space to drive the implementation processes. She mentioned Youth Challenge Vanuatu, which runs youth employment programmes, and the Pacific Youth Council’s partnership with the ILO.
Papua New Guinea supported her comments, and agreed that supporting youth in his country would be to the country’s economic advantage. He raised the issue of the cost of doing business in the Pacific, reminding delegates that Pacific nations have voting power equal to larger countries, and are entitled to the services of the UN despite issues of cost. He expressed concern about the costs incurred when projects are implemented through the UN system.
Niue commended the Major Groups and development partners on their document, and highlighted the work of Niue on youth employment issues.
Nikhil Seth discussed how the international community could move towards implementation. He proposed: regular review and monitoring of actions taken, including monies received and spent; giving attention to problems of implementation and providing spaces for this at national, regional and global levels; requesting reports that provide details of implementation instead of focusing only on policies; and identifying roadblocks to implementation. He encouraged everyone to think about “a fundamental shift” in the way that international meetings are organized, and the kind of reports that the international system is asked to produce, to change from a policymaking mode to policy implementation.
Samantha Cocco-Klein, UNICEF, said that universal social protection for children costs 0.7-1.8% of GDP but returns an 8-10% reduction in household poverty.
`Utoikamanu called for implementation of climate change activities, citing projects funded by AusAID, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), USAID and the EU. She noted an emerging range of financing modalities, including direct budgetary support at the sectoral and national levels, and national trust funds for countries.
David Payton, UNDP, explained that time constraints kept Major Groups and development partners from providing a more detailed statement, expressed hope that the outcome document would reflect a distinct Pacific perspective for the meetings in Barbados and Apia, and pledged partners’ commitment to continue working with governments throughout those meetings.
Nikhil Seth noted that Rio+20 resulted in almost a half-trillion US$ in voluntary initiatives, and drew attention to areas of interest to SIDS, such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, oceans, waste management, tourism, and disaster risk reduction and resilience. He highlighted the World Tourism Organization’s work to create a Global Observatory of Tourism, and said the UN High-level Political Forum would provide opportunities for partnerships to showcase their work and sustain political momentum, with Major Groups helping to coordinate efforts. He drew attention to intergenerational solidarity and equity as “unfinished business” of Rio+20, noting that a report on this issue was being developed for the UNGA, and there could still be opportunity to appoint an ombudsperson for future generations.
Noelene Nabulivou, DAWN, called for concrete linkages in the outcome document to the UNFCCC, UNCLOS and the post-2015 development agenda. She highlighted important advances on social inclusion and gender in the region, and suggested Major Groups could provide countries with case studies that show progress.
`Utoikamanu highlighted the importance of regional organizations, noting the SPC’s history since 1947 and its work in numerous sectors.
Samoa highlighted the review of the Pacific Plan regional framework as an opportunity to better connect the national level to the regional and global levels.
Tuvalu supported Kiribati, saying climate change was an important issue to low-lying island nations. He discussed basic infrastructure, youth employment and the importance of fisheries management in the region as topics needing emphasis in the outcome document, and highlighted the need for more efficient communication with the UN.
Nauru highlighted its completion of a climate change financing case study, supported by the PIFS, AusAID and UNDP. She reported that the study showed 70% of funds had been for “paperwork” such as policies, strategies and baseline data. She stressed the need to move from policy to implementation mode, calling for tangible projects on the ground.
Papua New Guinea encouraged stakeholders to provide their submissions to the Open Working Group on SDGs (OWG), saying that Pacific representatives on the OWG need information from the region.
Coral Pasisi, PIFS, noted it was unusual for IGOs, Major Groups and all development partners to be asked to contribute a collective submission in a very short time, as had occurred at this meeting. She highlighted that the PIFS had earlier worked with UN agencies to come up with thematic briefs on 29 key areas, which are available to Member States involved in the OWG on SDGs.
Tonga called for gender equality to be the core issue in the post-2015 development agenda, highlighting her statement to this effect at the recent session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
New Caledonia thanked the Government of Fiji for its invitation to participate in the meeting, and affirmed her country’s sense of belonging to the Pacific Islands family. She suggested that the regional synthesis report give more space to the work of the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific (CROP) agencies. She offered to submit an assessment report to the existing process, and the Chair welcomed this.
Niue supported Tuvalu’s comments and requested that the importance of peer review be included in the outcome document.
Samoa informed the meeting that Samoa will graduate from Least Developed Country status at the end of 2013, noting that her country’s journey had been underpinned by the quality and strength of its partnerships. She observed that countries have moved from donor-recipient relationships to being partners who are committed to learning from and helping each other. She highlighted that Samoa represents the Pacific region on the steering committee of the Global Partnership for Effective Development, while Timor-Leste represents the g7+ countries. The g7+ is a voluntary association of countries that are or have been affected by conflict, and that advocate for reforms to the way the international community engages in conflict-affected states, building on the “New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States” endorsed at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan. She proposed that “The Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Global Partnerships” be the theme for the Apia Conference, and delegates supported this by acclamation.
Chair Yauvoli noted the support of the meeting for inclusion of the Major Groups’ and development partners’ statement in the final document.
American Samoa urged the meeting to reconsider the status of his country in discussions, saying that countries’ alliances with larger partnerships, governmental or otherwise, should not exclude them from the Pacific Islands family.
A drafting committee met in a closed session on Friday afternoon to finalize the outcome document. The closing session was postponed from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm to enable delegates to complete their work.
Chair Yauvoli reconvened the plenary at 6:40 pm. He explained to delegates that the outcome text was being cleaned up and would be distributed to them shortly, with a one-week window for any further comments to be made, before the draft would be made final.
UN Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo thanked the Government of Fiji for hosting the meeting, and congratulated delegates on the outcome document, which highlights national priorities and discusses options for MoI. He commended delegates for addressing a range of sustainable development challenges that include climate change impacts, the high level of NCDs, and the need for renewable and sustainable energy. He underlined recommendations made by the meeting that: address social inclusion, strengthen monitoring and evaluation, align local processes to international processes, and work closely with youth.
Murata noted that governance and accountability will be important in the development and delivery of projects reaching out to people, and looked forward to this “vertical collaboration” as an important test of the outcome. He announced that the Government of Thailand will host an Asia-Pacific OWG event in August 2013.
In closing remarks, Filimone Waqabaca, Permanent Secretary for Finance, Fiji, congratulated delegates on having mapped out specific strategies and solutions, noting that priority issues such as climate change and NCDs were featured with renewed vigor in the outcome document. He called for focused efforts on lifestyle change and healthy food consumption, and encouraged everyone to work collectively with leaders on implementation of the BPOA and the MSI.
Chair Yauvoli noted that the outcome document being worked on was “acknowledged as adopted.” With three strokes on a Fijian lali drum, he concluded the meeting at 7:04 pm.
NADI DRAFT OUTCOME DOCUMENT OF THE PACIFIC REGIONAL PREPARATORY CONFERENCE FOR THE THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SIDS
The draft outcome document, titled “Accelerating Integrated Approach to Sustainable Development,” contains a preambulatory section, and discussion and recommendations on: climate change; health, especially NCDs; social development; governance; infrastructure; sustainable energy; oceans; sustainable resource management and protection; UN institutional support to SIDS; national priorities and plans; inclusive and sustainable economic management; and MoI and partnerships.
In the preambulatory section, the document:
- reaffirms commitment to the principles and priorities of the Rio+20 outcome, the BPOA, and the MSI;
- agrees that a transformational strategy is needed to bridge national sustainable development priorities with the global development agenda;
- expresses commitment to ensuring acceleration of achievement of the MDGs;
- highlights the need for a “data revolution” in the Pacific to enable monitoring, evaluation and accountability of actors; and
- supports the theme of “the sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships” for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.
On climate change, the document:
- notes that achieving the sustainable development goals of the Pacific region and the full implementation of the BPOA and the MSI is only possible with urgent global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to keep global average temperature increase well below 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels and long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at well below 350ppm CO2-equivalent levels;
- agrees that all parties must dramatically increase their commitment and efforts to address climate change under the UNFCCC, and “expand the conversation” beyond climate negotiators to engage experts on the ground;
- calls for the process launched under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action to become a UNFCCC Protocol applicable to all parties, to be adopted no later than 2015;
- calls on parties to the Kyoto Protocol that have not joined the second commitment period to do so immediately;
- emphasizes the need to address the security implications of climate change, including violation of territorial integrity, climate-related disasters, threats to water and food security, increased natural resource scarcity, and forced displacement;
- further emphasizes the responsibility of all nations to protect the individual and collective rights of all people and communities and the sovereign rights of nations displaced from the adverse impacts of climate change, including through migration with dignity;
- reaffirms the urgent imperative to establish, at the UNFCCC at COP19 in Warsaw, an international mechanism to address loss and damage;
- calls for the SDGs to include climate change as a cross-cutting issue;
- reiterates the call for the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on Climate and Security;
- agrees that the Montreal Protocol be utilized to undertake the gradual phase down of production and consumption of HFCs as called for in the Rio+20 outcome document, The Future We Want; and
- calls for additional adaptation financing and capacity to support SIDS-specific challenges in the short, medium and long term, with modalities for SIDS that can be drawn down at a rate commensurate with their absorptive capacities and needs.
On health, especially NCDs, the document:
- expresses concern about high childhood obesity rates in the Pacific, and the lack of secure, sustainable funding to address the NCD crisis;
- recognizes that “completing the unfinished business of the MDGs” requires scaling-up of interventions in maternal and child health, particularly for vulnerable groups and isolated populations;
- proposes adopting multi-sector responses that could include trade, agriculture, education, transportation and other sectors to address the underlying causes of NCDs, such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, smoking and alcohol use, and unhealthy lifestyles;
- recommends that NCDs be included in the post-2015 development agenda as an issue to be addressed at the local level through initiatives such as the Healthy Islands Programme of the Pacific;
- recommends building institutions and sustainable health programmes that reach everyone, including people in rural areas, youth and people with disabilities;
- recommends strengthening coordination of health and development work in the Pacific to ensure the best use of available funds and expertise;
- calls for the implementation of evidence-based initiatives to reduce risk factors of NCDs where possible, and address the social determinants of health; and
- calls for action to address the lack of access to affordable, safe and quality medicine and diagnostic services.
On social development, the document:
- recommends the expansion of social priorities under the BPOA and MSI to include the gender dimension of climate change and impact on youth, people in rural areas and other vulnerable populations;
- affirms the role of people of the Pacific as custodians of natural resources, and recognizes culture as a guide to sustainable development;
- reiterates the need for an inclusive human rights based approach anchored in international instruments;
- stresses the need to mainstream gender equality and the empowerment of women through the three pillars of sustainable development;
- affirms the “Pacific Regional Cultural Strategy: Investing in Pacific cultures 2010-2020” as an example of a regional strategy to integrate culture into sustainable development;
- acknowledges that gender inequality and violence against women remain key challenges; and
- reiterates the need for strengthening social protection measures such as access to healthcare and education for youth, girls, people with disabilities, rural populations, vulnerable and disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
On governance, the document:
- affirms the strengthening of national institutions as a key step towards achieving sustainable development underlining the role of peace and security, and stability in development;
- stresses the need for national development priorities, strategies and plans to be linked but not subordinate to the global development agenda, underscoring the need to integrate, merge and streamline parallel processes under the post-2015 development agenda;
- stresses the need for a “data revolution” to increase access and capacity to compile current and accurate data;
- observes that the lack of measurable targets and indicators, as well as a clear monitoring and evaluation framework in the BPOA and MSI presents challenges in assessing progress and implementation;
- supports mutual accountability and risk sharing among SIDS, partners and implementing agencies to ensure the effective and efficient use of resources; and
- recommends institution building that promotes the retention of knowledge in all its forms, including traditional knowledge.
On infrastructure, the document:
- agrees that infrastructure should be accessible to vulnerable groups;
- stresses the need for auditing of existing infrastructure and infrastructure needs, and careful planning and design of infrastructure projects to ensure resilience;
- recommends incentives and innovative mechanisms for financing infrastructure;
- encourages innovative infrastructural designs to minimize climate change risks, and the monitoring and evaluation of environmental and social impacts of infrastructure through systems such as the System for Environment-Economic Accounting; and
- reaffirms the role of ICTs and transport as drivers for economic and social development.
On sustainable energy, the document:
- calls for concrete implementation of the UN Sustainable Energy for All initiative, and calls on the International Renewable Energy Agency to live up to its commitment to the Pacific region;
- recognizes the SIDS-initiated SIDS DOCK programme, the Tonga Energy Roadmap and the recent Pacific Energy Summit;
- recognizes the need for SIDS DOCK to mobilize additional financial resources for the Pacific SIDS;
- observes the willingness of Pacific SIDS to explore innovative technology such as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion;
- affirms the need to develop domestic energy resources, wherever economically and sustainably feasible;
- stresses the need to transform the energy sector from petroleum dependency toward renewable sources of energy and to encourage diversification of the economy to increase access to energy services;
- reaffirms the need to support national and regional efforts to develop and utilize new, innovative, renewable energy policies and programmes and to encourage foster energy efficiency and conservation;
- calls for the provision of special funding in the assessment and identification of renewable energy technologies, including technical assistance and capacity building; and
- reaffirms the Barbados Declaration on Achieving Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States aimed at promoting transformational activities in the sustainable energy.
On oceans, the document:
- highlights the need to increase SIDS’ participation in sustainable commercial fisheries to provide equitable, realistic and rewarding opportunities for products from SIDS fleets and processing plants;
- urges development of approaches to ensure that the burden of conservation and management of ocean resources falls fairly upon those that harvest and take greatest economic benefit from the resources;
- recommends development of an international instrument under UNCLOS on biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, with a decision to be taken before the 69th UNGA;
- calls for enhanced regional and international support on capacity building, financial resources and technology transfer in the field of waste management;
- urges intensified efforts to at least meet the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation 2015 target to maintain or restore fish stocks to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield;
- highlights threats from IUU Fishing, overcapacity of fishing fleets, inadequate enforcement and unsustainable use and management of marine resources;
- calls for investments targeted towards institutional capacity building on threat abatement, to create opportunities for more effective resource management and opportunities for a broadened and more inclusive skilled workforce;
- stresses the need for support from partners to facilitate the establishment of the continental shelf for SIDS countries in the region;
- emphasizes the urgent need to enhance environmental impact assessment requirements for regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and other bodies with ocean management or governance responsibilities to improve ecosystem resilience to ocean acidification;
- recommends implementation of RFMO-based and national measures to increase SIDS’ ability to control fishing at levels that provide for ecologically sustainable returns to their growing economies, with at least 50% of fishing efforts in the Pacific SIDS area to be flagged by, or in development arrangements with, Pacific SIDS;
- urges development and strengthening of regional instruments and programmes on Ecosystem Based Management and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) through incorporating knowledge on ocean acidification, climate change impacts and ecosystem-based adaptation into ICZM and reef monitoring and restoration;
- emphasizes the need for stronger regional instruments or programmes on controlling land-based sources of pollution;
- endorses targeted high seas closures to enable sustainable fisheries;
- asserts the need to recommit to significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss in the marine environment, at all levels, and to establish a global network of ecologically representative area based management measures;
- calls on Pacific SIDS that have not done so to deposit the baseline coordinates of their Exclusive Economic Zone with the UN Division of Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea to prevent loss of territory from climate change;
- endorses ongoing efforts to establish a global network to monitor ocean acidification, particularly in vulnerable ecosystems, such as coral reefs, and areas of high variability, such as coastal regions, and provide relevant measures to allow SIDS scientists to be integrated into international research teams;
- commits to increasing the number of protected areas in critical ecosystems sensitive to ocean acidification and ensuring adequate, sustainable support for the management of such areas; and
- strongly supports the efforts of the Pacific SIDS troika of Nauru, Palau and Papua New Guinea in the OWG on SDGs to ensure the inclusion of goals on healthy, productive and resilient oceans, and sustainable energy.
On sustainable resource management and protection, the document:
- calls for improved efforts towards ensuring food and water security, and sustainable land use management, including tourism sector development and biodiversity conservation;
- underscores that food security is consonant with the health of the Pacific Ocean due to the people’s primary dependence on fisheries and marine resources for their livelihoods;
- expresses concern over depletion of freshwater resources and contamination by pollution from agriculture, industry and domestic production and consumption patterns, and from the neglect of waste management;
- urges enhanced and effective efforts under agreed regional and international instruments such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands to protect biodiversity for the benefit of future generations;
- underscores the critical importance of protecting, conserving, development, management and sustainable use of the natural and cultural heritage of Pacific islands for nation building and for the benefit of future generations;
- urges Pacific SIDS to sign, adopt and implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, for enhanced accountability, transparency and good governance in extractive industries such as mining, petroleum, liquefied natural gas and forestry exploitation and development;
- encourages SIDS to undertake strategic environment assessment and cost-benefit analysis of international and regional environment frameworks such as the Ramsar Convention, and recommit to the Pacific Partnership Initiative on Sustainable Water Management, to support sustainable development; and
- recommends that disaster risk reduction be mainstreamed into national planning and budgetary processes.
On UN institutional support to SIDS, the document:
- calls for targeted support measures from the international community to address the unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS, so that SIDS can be a showcase for sustainable development;
- urges the review of mandates and operational functioning of UN agencies providing support to SIDS, to identify the level of financial resources and institutional capacity needed for the agencies to enhance delivery of projects on the ground and enhance effectiveness, with a view to revising the mandates at the Apia Conference to ensure clear delineation of the roles, accountability, current realities and the ability of the agencies to address new and emerging issues; and
- calls for the development and implementation of a formal accountability mechanism for delivering UN and non-UN support to SIDS that includes specific and measurable commitments by the international community to provide assistance to SIDS.
On national priorities and plans, the document:
- calls for the UN to strengthen its mandate to support SIDS in their sustainable development efforts, including promoting effective linkages between the international sustainable development agenda and their national development priorities;
- expresses concern over the lack of international focus and political will on SIDS priority issues;
- urges national level implementation of the BPOA and MSI in an effective manner;
- underlines the need for effective and durable partnerships between development partners and SIDS in the formulation and implementation of national policies to achieve the BPOA, MSI, MDGs and other internationally agreed commitments in an integrated manner; and
- calls for the UN system and other development partners to support SIDS institutional capacity building.
On inclusive and sustainable economic management, the document:
- highlights the need to move from political commitment to tangible results in the implementation of green growth policies; and
- notes that capitalizing on the contribution of the “blue economy” offers great opportunity for sustainable development in Pacific SIDS.
On MoI and partnerships, the document:
- calls for moving away from holding capacity-building workshops to strengthening institutional capacity for service delivery;
- stresses the need for long-term in-country engagement, backed by real resources, that leaves behind resilient institutions that are nationally owned and run;
- calls on partners to provide direct budgetary support and increase transparency in aid spending, with a simplified process to access development finance; and
- highlights the Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation as a framework for improving coordination that can be used to enhance meaningful partnerships.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE MEETING
“HERE COMES THE SUN”
As delegates arrived at the Pacific SIDS Preparatory Meeting in sunny Nadi, Fiji, the floral shirts of the organizers did not obscure the fact that the gathering had serious implications for the role of the region at the Third International Conference on SIDS. The Conference in Apia, Samoa is fourteen months away, and Pacific SIDS are already engaged at the national and regional levels to ensure that their priorities are effectively reflected in the greater SIDS sustainable development agenda. The Pacific regional meeting provided a space for the islands to discuss national priorities and concerns and how these will translate to a regional position that is reflective of the common values of the Pacific. The Pacific meeting followed the Caribbean meeting, and while each meeting took place within the regional context, they both addressed common objectives, as defined by Member States in General Assembly resolution 67/207 on “Follow-up to and implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS.” Delegates focused their deliberations on progress to date and the remaining gaps in implementation of the BPOA and MSI, actions for further implementation of the BPOA and MSI and other relevant processes, new and emerging challenges and opportunities in the region, and regional priorities for sustainable development of SIDS, including in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda and partnerships for development.
“ISLANDS IN THE STREAM”
While the beaches of the Caribbean and the Pacific may appear similar in photographs, the regions are very different in their economic, social and natural resource characteristics. The Pacific has some 30,000 islands with a collective population of over 10 million, while the Caribbean has over 700 islands with a population of well over 30 million. The Caribbean is a middle-income region while the Pacific is a lower-income region according to the World Bank, which results in differing development priorities particularly in the economic sector, with the Pacific more focused on strengthening subsistence economies. “The Caribbean has capacity that far outweighs the human resources of the Pacific, and that is very apparent when it comes to the international level,” said one senior UN official. As a result, for a long time the SIDS agenda was dominated by the voice of Caribbean States, whose seasoned negotiators and strategic approach at international meetings ensured their positions were taken on board. Despite this disparity in capacity, the Pacific has already submitted 14 national assessment reports, compared to Caribbean’s three, indicating that the region is making concrete steps toward the Apia Conference. AOSIS Chair Marlene Moses, Nauru, reflected this when she said: “The opportunities for the Pacific to reshape the sustainable development agenda for SIDS are abundant.” Indeed, the need for the Pacific to adopt a common position and priorities was a common theme throughout the discussions as countries strove for a strong outcome document from the meeting. As Prime Minister Bainimarama of Fiji said, “We need to show them that our ideas are worth adopting.”
“BEYOND THE SEA”
The 14 national assessment reports submitted were based on in-country consultations. The Regional Synthesis Report of these assessments was used as the basis of discussion towards the meeting’s outcome document. The top three key issues identified were climate change, oceans and social inclusion, as underlined in the reports submitted and discussions among participants, Major Groups and partners. Some referred to the preparatory efforts of the region as “admirable,” noting that with the exception of just one country, all of the national assessments were completed in the short time available before the meeting, thanks to strong commitment and coordination among the various governments and UN agencies involved. According to a social policy synthesis by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth, environmental issues initially dominated much of the discourse on SIDS as the threat of climate variability and change became high points of the global agenda. More recently, however, increasing attention has been given to the social vulnerability of SIDS and social policy in small states. This was reflected in Nadi.
Climate change featured prominently in the meeting, but the focus shifted from vulnerability to adaptation and threats to security, not just of resources and livelihoods but also of identity and preservation. A case highlighting this shift was that of Kiribati, who has secured 6000 acres of land in Fiji in anticipation of displacement due to climate change. Nevertheless, views differed on financing and MoI and which to prioritize. “It is not financing that we have trouble with, it’s how we are making use of that financing on the ground, within our national strategies and implementation plans,” said one island delegate, noting that accessing more climate financing will add a burden to the already over-stretched capacity of Pacific nations. “Nationally we are very focused and our spending on climate is well planned and managed, but we need this to translate to the regional level, and somehow we are not able to do this,” said one senior delegate. She referred to the need for more regional collaboration on climate financing, to ensure that islands receive assistance not just at the proposal writing stage but also for meeting the reporting requirements during implementation. The delegate referred to the regional scope of the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change project as a possible model to emulate. At the parallel sessions, Major Groups and development partners felt the need to have strong language in the outcome document on climate change impacts in the Pacific, in light of the upcoming IPCC 5th Assessment Report. But one developed country delegate expressed reservations about the issue, saying that prioritizing climate change could mean fewer resources will be available for other priority issues.
Oceans featured prominently, which some felt was only appropriate as the region represents over 60 million square miles of ocean. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN and Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) circulated a draft text to delegates that emphasizes the need for the Pacific to have a strong stance on oceans, specifically the sustainable management of fisheries. “The Pacific occupies the largest ocean on our planet; the way I see it, if we don’t take this issue forward, then who will,” a participant noted. Indeed, a grim picture of the sector is noted in an SPC and FFA report on the “Future of Fisheries in the Pacific,” which highlights the reduction of coastal fishery resources as a result of destructive fishing practices, pollution, siltation from mining, logging and agriculture, and competing uses of the coastal zone. The report notes that the problem is exacerbated by climate change, particularly where coastal fisheries depend heavily on coral reefs. At the end of the meeting the issue featured prominently in the outcome document with a specific recommendation for the Pacific to push for an SDG on oceans in the post-2015 development agenda.
Social inclusion and development was heavily discussed with Major Groups and partners all lobbying for their issues to be included. Youth issues in particular received a lot of attention as young people representing the SIDS youth forum the week before made sure that there was space for their voices to be heard. “We are tired of being an issue. We are not an issue, we are a partner who can assist you in identifying the issues and findings solutions,” said one of the youth delegates.
“OBSCURED BY CLOUDS”
Partnerships were an underlying theme throughout the deliberations both in closed and open meetings. Some questioned whether the meeting process was conducive to creating a regional approach, referring in particular to the structure of the meeting which did not allow development partners such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), PIFS and SPC, who are key actors in regional activities, to have a more significant role in the discussion of recommendations on MOI. Notably, SPREP—which leads on some regional climate change discussions, including the Pacific Climate Change Roundtable the week before—was not part of the discussion. Representatives from the CROP agencies felt that the sentiment of partnership was not genuine. “This is not a collaborative approach; having us write on a piece of paper and read out dot points at this meeting is not a good approach to partnership,” one CROP representative said. At the parallel sessions, IGOs, NGOs, CSOs, development partners and UN agencies all joined in the discussion; some felt that this was an unfair grouping of the partners and Major Groups, and that the meeting deserved a better format. “We all have different interests, and this is not how you ensure that our differing views are included,” said one. A Cook Islands delegate was vocal in her support for inclusion of CROPs in the discussion, noting that they are key drivers of in-country implementation. Some delegates had hoped for more time to discuss common priorities for a more succinct outcome document.
“I AM A ROCK”
At the end of the meeting, there were mixed feelings about the Pacific approach. Whereas some delegates were proud of the work done, others expressed dismay at multitude of issues and the lack of a Pacific-specific approach.
Some had hoped that the outcomes of the Pacific SIDS meeting would align itself with existing regional frameworks such as the Pacific Plan that guides the work of national governments, regional agencies and development partners in support of the needs of PICs. “What we needed here was a strategy for engagement, to ensure that our issues progress from here and beyond Barbados,” said one senior delegate.
Others were encouraged by the results of the meeting in formulating a Pacific position toward the Apia Conference. Indeed priorities were identified based on 14 national assessment reports and delegates’ deliberations. The outcome document lists 10 key issues that address climate change; health, especially NCDs; social development; governance; infrastructure; sustainable energy; oceans; sustainable resource management and pollution. The document covers many sectors and targets environmental, health, social and economic challenges, and manages to bring together the needs of a large and diverse region under common themes. All that is left now is the effective delivery of these priorities to Barbados and on to Samoa.
The Pacific, through Nauru as Chair of AOSIS and Fiji as Chair of Group of 77, can choose to advocate these issues at the international level in preparation for the Apia Conference. While there are differences between SIDS and regions in development status and human resource capacity, many confront the same issues to varying degrees—disasters, ocean acidification, NCDs, population pressures, and dependence on fossil fuels. As negotiations toward the Apia Conference proceed, the Pacific contribution has helped clarify the common issues facing SIDS, and if other regions take the Pacific priorities on board, will have contributed to a strong joint position for the rest of the world to consider.
AIMS Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Third International SIDS Conference: This regional preparatory meeting will develop inputs from the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, and South China Sea (AIMS) region for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. dates: 17-19 July 2013 location: Victoria, Seychelles contact: Rebecca Loustau-Lalanne phone: +248 4283549 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.sids2014.org/index.php?menu=1494
CBD Regional Workshop for the Pacific on the Preparation of the Fifth National Report: This workshop aims to strengthen countries’ capacities in assessing the status and trends of biodiversity, in reviewing implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) and in measuring progress toward the Aichi biodiversity targets. dates: 22-26 July 2013 location: Suva, Fiji contact: Convention on Biological Diversity Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email: email@example.com www: https://www.cbd.int/doc/?meeting=RW5NR-PAC-01
5th International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP2013): Paving the Way for a Sustainable Asia-Pacific – Regional Perspectives on Green Economy: This event will focus on incorporation of sustainability concepts into business practices, local initiatives for smart cities and emerging networks of researchers for low-carbon development. dates: 23-24 July 2013 location: Yokohama, Japan contact: ISAP2013 Registration Secretariat phone: +81-3-3524-3134 fax: +81-3-3524-3135 email:firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.iges.or.jp/isap/2013/en/index.html
Asia and the Pacific Regional Workshop on NAMAs: This workshop aims to facilitate the preparation, submission and implementation of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) under the UNFCCC. dates: 13-15 August 2013 location: Singapore contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: email@example.com www: http://unfccc.int/focus/mitigation/intems/7172.php
Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction: The Ad hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction will continue its deliberations. dates: 19-23 August 2013 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea phone: +1-212-963-3962 fax: +1-212-963-5847 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.un.org/Depts/los/biodiversityworkinggroup/biodiversityworkinggroup.htm
Development for Whom? Asia-Pacific CSO Voices for Post-2015 Development: Civil society organizations will come together in the lead up to the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Dialogue to discuss the elements of a just development agenda and how to move from consultation to real participation of civil society in the post-2015 framework. dates: 23-24 August 2013 location: Bangkok, Thailand www: http://peoplesgoals.org/save-the-date-asia-pacific-cso-voices-for-post-2015-development/
Asia-Pacific Ministerial Dialogue: Hosted by the Government of Thailand, this regional consultation is organized to provide input to the New York-based discussions of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. dates: 26-27 August 2013 location: Bangkok, Thailand contact: Adnan Aliani, UNESCAP email: email@example.com www: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/index.php?page=view&type=13&nr=464&menu=23
Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting: The Inter-regional meeting to prepare for the 2014 International Conference on Small Island Developing States will bring together delegates from all three SIDS regions. dates: 26-28 August 2013 location: Bridgetown, Barbados contact: Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs email: firstname.lastname@example.org or contact: Barbados Ministry of Environment and Drainage fax: +1-246-437-8859 www: http://www.sids2014.org/
44th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting: The meeting is based on the theme “Marshalling the Pacific Response to the Climate Challenge.” dates: 3-6 September 2013 location: Majuro, Marshall Islands contact: Desna Solofa, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat phone: +679-3312-600 email: email@example.com www: http://www.forumsec.org.fj/pages.cfm/newsroom/press-statements/2013/dates-for-44th-pacific-islands-forum-announced.html
Diplomatic Plenipotentiary Conference on Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury: The Conference will adopt the Minamata Convention on Mercury and a final act that addresses: how to promote and prepare for the early implementation of the Convention; arrangements for the interim period between the signing of the instrument and its entry into force, including arrangements for financial and technical assistance during that period; and secretariat arrangements. A preparatory session will be held on 7-8 October, opening ceremonies on 9 October, and the full Conference on 10-11 October 2013. dates: 7-11 October 2013 location: Kumamoto, Japan contact: UNEP Mercury Programme phone: +41-22-917- 8192/8232 fax: +41-22-797-3460 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/MinamataConvention/DipCon/tabid/106193/Default.aspx
28th General Meeting of the International Coral Reef Initiative: The International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) will hold its 28th General Meeting (GM28) in Belize. ICRI brings together governments, the CBD and the Ramsar Convention Secretariats, NGOs, development banks such as the World Bank, regional organizations such as the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and international organizations. dates: 14-17 October 2013 location: Belize City, Belize contact: ICRI Secretariat email: email@example.com www: http://www.icriforum.org/ICRIGM28
Third International Marine Protected Area Congress: The third International Marine Protected Areas Congress aims to define actions to promote cooperation through different initiatives, and to inspire a new way of thinking to face global challenges, such as climate change, poverty reduction, and resource sharing. dates: 21-27 October 2013 location: Marseille and Corsica, France contact: IUCN email:firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.impac3.org/en/
25th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol: MOP 25 is scheduled to consider a number of issues, including nominations for critical- and essential-use exemptions, as well as amendments to the protocol to phase out HFCs and the unique and particular vulnerabilities of SIDS, and to consider these vulnerabilities when discussing SIDS’ Montreal Protocol obligations and transitions to ozone-friendly alternatives. dates: 21-25 October 2013 location: Bangkok, Thailand contact: Ozone Secretariat phone: +254-20-762-3851 fax: +254-20-762-4691 email: email@example.com www: http://ozone.unep.org
25th Session of the FAO Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission: This meeting offers a policy and technical forum for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss and address forest issues. dates: 4-8 November 2013 location: New Zealand contact: Patrick Durst email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.fao.org/forestry/33587/en/
First Annual Sustainable Development Implementation Forum: The SDIF aims to serve as a global platform for sharing best practices in formulating and implementing sustainable development programmes, reviewing evidence of impact, and charting new and improved pathways for sustainable development implementation. dates: 5-7 November 2013 (tentative) location: Incheon, Republic of Korea contact: SDIF Secretariat, UNOSD phone: +82-32-822-9088 fax: +82-32-822-9089 email: email@example.com www: http://www.unosd.org
19th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC: COP 19, the 9th meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties for the Kyoto Protocol, the third meeting of the Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, and the 39th meetings of the Subsidiary Bodies will convene. dates: 11-22 November 2013 location: Warsaw, Poland contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.unfccc.int
9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas: The Pacific Islands Roundtable for Nature Conservation, a network of NGOs, donors and regional organizations working in nature conservation in the Pacific, organizes this conference every five years to set activities and strategies for the next five-year period. The ninth conference’s theme is “Natural Solutions: Building Resilience for a Changing Pacific.” dates: 2-6 December 2013 location: Suva, Fiji email: email@example.com www: http://www.sprep.org/pacificnatureconference
Intergovernmental Preparatory Committee for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States: The modalities for the Preparatory Committee will be set by the 68th session of the UN General Assembly. The Committee is supposed to start work in early 2014. dates: to be determined location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: Hiroko Morita-Lou, UN SIDS Unit phone: +1-212-963-8813 fax: +1-212-963-3260 email: firstname.lastname@example.org www: http://www.sids2014.org/
31st Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries: COFI reviews the work programmes of the FAO in the field of fisheries, and their implementation, conducts periodic general reviews of international fishery problems and examines possible solutions. dates: 9-13 June 2014 location: Rome, Italy contact: FAO Fisheries email: FAO-COFI@fao.org www: http://www.fao.org/unfao/govbodies/gsbhome/committee-fi/en/
Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States: The Third International Conference on SIDS will include a high-level segment to build upon the BPOA and MSI and will identify new challenges for the sustainable development of SIDS. The conference will be preceded by related activities from 28-30 August 2014. dates: 28 August - 4 September 2014 location: Apia, Samoa contact: Hiroko Morita-Lou, UN SIDS Unit phone: +1-212- 963-8813 fax: +1-212-963-3260 email: email@example.com www: http://www.sids2014.org/