United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,
AOSIS would like to thank the panelists for the insightful presentations, as well as the representative of DESA for the introduction of the Secretary-General?s report, all of which have set the stage for our discussions. AOSIS endorses the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Algeria on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
Mr. Chairman, as stated in the Secretary-General?s report on the thematic review of the CSD-18 themes in SIDS, the issue of waste is more threatening to SIDS than for other developing countries given the scarcity of land and ecological fragility. Indeed population dynamics and changing consumption patterns, coupled with limited waste carrying capacity, combine to create a significant challenge for waste management in small island developing states. This underlines the importance of pursuing sound waste management in SIDS as an integral part of integrated sustainable development strategies.
SIDS, in general, have made some progress in improvement of waste management over the last ten years, even as changes in consumption patterns have led to an increase in the volume and complexity of waste generated.
However, many of our countries are forced to take an ad hoc approach to implementing national policies on waste management due to lack of capacity, adequate infrastructure, technology and financial resources.
Mr. Chairman, whereas small-scale projects are useful to determine what approaches are best suited to our national circumstances, we need to move beyond a small-scale project-based approach to waste management to significant scaling-up of the capital investments needed to establish modern waste managements systems.
In particular, significant investment is still needed in modern sewage treatment facilities and landfill facilities. AOSIS believes there is much scope for the international community to play a greater role in terms of facilitating such investments through enhanced support at the international level as well as supporting robust public-private partnerships at the national level.
In this regard we encourage international organizations and UN entities such as UNEP and UNDP, and other relevant entities, as well as bilateral donors, to provide training and technology transfer and know-how on waste disposal systems to SIDS countries, as part of their overall support for the full implementation of the programme of action for the sustainable development of small island developing states.
Whereas we support the emphasis on the three Rs -- reduce, reuse and recycle -- it must be noted that small size and relatively low volumes of recyclable waste mitigate against the efficiency of recycling on a significant scale in SIDS. Further, although exporting waste for recycling is one option, high energy and transportation costs does not make this a sustainable option for SIDS.
Our approach to sustainable waste management should therefore also include an emphasis on sustainable and affordable energy, in particular renewable sources of energy.
Since a significant portion of the waste generated in SIDS is organic, there is scope for a greater reliance on biological treatment methods suited for small island states. However, this must be coupled with effective education and public awareness activities to promote the use of waste as an energy source, in order to address the social stigma and negative perception that can be associated with using waste as a resource, including waste-to-energy projects. This should also be accompanied by strong regulatory and enforcement mechanisms, as well as capacity building and transfer of knowledge.
Mr. Chairman, waste management in coastal zones is a priority given the economic significance of industries such as tourism and fisheries. Of particular significance is the impact of waste and pollution on marine and costal resources, and the need therefore to prevent damage and loss to our fragile marine eco-systems, including coral reefs, mangroves and beaches.
Additionally, an effective legislative framework is required to support added investments in waste management systems. More effective legislation and enforcement is needed to counteract illegal dumping on land as well as monitoring waste disposal at sea.
Mr. Chairman, SIDS are extremely vulnerable to transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals. AOSIS members continue to seek a complete ban on the trans-shipment of hazardous waste through our territorial waters, and calls for greater effort to enhance international and regional mechanisms to achieve a complete ban.
Additionally, Mr. Chairman, in many instances our islands are at risk of becoming unofficial dumping grounds as waste and trash from distant nations often float to our islands. AOSIS is concerned about the increasing concentration of waste both arriving on our shores as well as accumulating in the open ocean. This is an issue that needs greater international attention, as it causes serious negative environmental impact.
Finally Mr. Chairman, AOSIS believes the time is now right to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of existing waste management systems in SIDS in order to identify more concretely the investment and capacity building needs and the international assistance necessary to meet those needs.
In conclusion, while there is much to be done at the national level to improve waste management in SIDS, not much can be achieved without adequate financial and technical support from the international community on a sustained basis.
Thank you.