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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member States
Senior Adviser to the State Secretary for the Environment
Republic of Hungary
Intergovernmental preparatory meeting
of the 19th Commission on Sustainable Development
SIDS Session
United Nations
New York
28 February 2011
Draft statement on SIDS
(New York, 28 February 2011)
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union and its 27 Member
States .
We welcome the opportunity of addressing the specific difficulties of Small Island
Developing States (SIDS), with whom the EU and its Member States have a long
history of cooperation, in the context of this IPM. While SIDS face many
challenges, we would like to highlight the fundamental role of CSD in
reviewing these challenges and in discussing policy options for addressing the
barriers and constraints SIDS are facing due to their increased vulnerability.
Besides the devastating consequences of climate change, SIDS need to face
other problems caused by isolation and vulnerabilities, like expensive
transport and high communications costs, waste management, freshwater, etc..
Strengthened human resources and institutional capacities, including the
empowerment of women and youth are also required in order to face the present
and upcoming challenges.
The Mauritius Strategy provides a unique and exclusive cooperation framework.
The EU welcomes this and remains committed to supporting the implementation
of its priorities. Therefore, we call for the implementation of the Outcome
Document of 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 held on 24-
25 September 2010. In this regard we would like to highlight the necessity of
defining measurable goals and indicators for monitoring and evaluation, and
strengthening capacities for data collection and analysis; scaling up resources
made available to small island States, including for meeting new challenges;
enhancing strategic partnerships, especially at the regional level and within the
UN system; strengthening South-South cooperation, including among small
island States; and placing special focus on such areas as climate change
mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity, natural disasters, sustainable energy,
transport and trade, fisheries, tourism, finance and debt sustainability.
Protection of fragile ecosystems of SIDS is crucial not only because of their
importance for the vital ecosystem services they provide but also for their
attractiveness for the tourism sector providing considerable revenues for SIDS.
Therefore developing sustainable tourism approaches will lead to a win -win
situation (economic growth and environmental protection) for SIDS.
When considering the cluster of issues of this CSD cycle, there are themes
which are of high relevance to SIDS. There is a clear need for an integrated
approach to transport, chemicals, mining and waste management together with
the cross-cutting theme of sustainable consumption and production.
On waste management, many SIDS have difficulties in terms of financial and
technical capacity in dealing with waste management issues. Different types of
wastes threaten SIDS ecological integrity. Efforts must be undertaken to
strengthen the control of the trans -boundary movement of hazardous wastes,
especially through the enhancement of activities under the Basel Convention. It
is essential to promote sustainable waste management and to promote national,
regional and international cooperation to reduce the quantity of waste disposed
of at sea.
Sustainable waste management can have beneficial impacts in other areas.
For example composting of organic waste can produce alternatives to chemical
fertilisers; waste can be converted into energy fuels, and treated through
fermentation or other techniques to produce irrigation water.
Transport remains important challenge for SIDS to overcome the handicap of
their remoteness and improve the competitiveness of their smaller and distanced
markets. In analogy to landlocked countries, SIDS are ?sea-locked? relying
mainly on air and maritime transport connections. Moreover, the impact of
climate change is likely to make these connections even more costly, particularly
in terms of infrastructure resilience. In this context, while reliable, affordable,
frequent and efficient transportation is key, required transport will need to be
developed in a sustainable manner. Transport organized at regional level may
prove to be an effective tool for addressing the challenges of SIDS?s geographic
remoteness, small size and lower transport volumes.
Sustainable Production and Consumption (SCP) is also a key element in
SIDS aim to "minimising the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well
as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life-cycle so as not to
jeopardize the needs of future generations." The green economy focus on
improving eco -efficiency will help promoting sustainable solutions, which will
lower SIDS' exposure to environmental degradation. This approach will also help
reducing SIDS' environmental vulnerability, as well as addressing their social and
economic challenges.
Land is a scarce resource in the SIDS. In this regard, mining could represent an
additional pressure in land use. In many areas customary and indigenous lands
are under pressure from outside interests such as incoming agribusiness, timber
and mining companies. Mining projects should ensure compliance with best
practises and, where impacts are negative, (such as costal erosion and
pollution), consider mitigation measures. On the other hand, awareness and
participation is required when dealing with mining tenement issues and raising
land ?ownership?. Due to dependency on marine resources, integrated
approaches to governance may be needed that include mining, fisheries,
biodiversity, energy, and shipping. , It is important for SIDS to provide
incentives for economic diversification by developing other sectors that minimise
the dependence on the mining sector and by improving the competitiveness the
manufacturing sector.
Finally, we would like to underscore the need for urgent implementation of the
Barbados Plan of Action and the Mauritius Strategy. While SIDS have largely
made progress in formulating and implementing strategies and policies to
advance sustainable development, there are still important challenges ahead.
National and regional efforts must be encouraged and complemented by the
international community?s response particularly regarding capacity building,
technology transfer and the financial resources mobilisation.
Thank you!