Conference set to foster action for small island States UN official says

Video of press briefing [25mins] The International Meeting to Review the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, scheduled for 10 to 14 January in Mauritius, will seek greater international support and partnerships for small islands’ issues.”This will be the first time that any United Nations conference will be focusing on the implementation aspect of the outcome document during the conference itself,” said Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the Secretary-General for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.The gathering will forge a strategy for the global community to help in tackling escalating trade losses, the impact of natural disasters, and other serious situations in small island developing States, he told a news conference in New York.The environmental vulnerability of these small, remote islands in the Caribbean and Pacific had caused serious infrastructure damage and made it difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of time-bound anti-poverty goals agreed to at a UN summit in 2000.As many as 14 major tropical storms in the Caribbean during the latest hurricane season alone had caused $20 billion in economic losses, while rising sea levels in the Pacific region threatened to completely submerge the islands of Nauru, Maldives and Tuvalu, Mr. Chowdhury said.Despite this, he said, their plight received little international attention, with official development assistance (ODA) to small island developing States dropping to $1.7 billion from $2.3 billion over the last decade.Participants would hammer out an implementation strategy during the first two days of the conference for review by national leaders attending the event’s high-level segment from 13 to 14 January. Over two dozen Heads of State or government are expected to attend.