United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Statement by HE Ambassador Enele Sopoaga t
Vice-Chairman of AOSIS, on behalf of AOSIS, on the outcomes of the Mauritius
International Meeting
High Level Segment
13th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development
22 April 2005
Mr Chairman
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States
(AOSIS) at the High Level Segment of the 13th' Session of the Commission
on Sustainable Development. This statement builds on the AOSIS
introductory remarks on water, sanitation and human settlements already
made in the course of this CSD session.
The AOSIS views that the MSI concluded three months ago, gives us a most.
important reaffirmation, namely that of integration. Water, sanitation and
human settlements are very important topics for AOSIS. From physical and
geographic perspective the special needs of SIDS can be observed. But it is
also important that we bear in mind that the MSI has reaffirmed the special
case for SIDS for sustainable development, and that SIDS must integrate
sectors in order to achieve resilience building in the face of their
Water, sanitation and human settlements present us with just such
opportunities for integration. For example in the smaller islands, having
water catchment systems attached to housing is an important strategy, either
with household storage facilities or aquifer recharge. It is also important to
integrate water and sanitation, to reduce the amount of water used and to
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avoid contamination of the aquifer. In this regard, there are some differences
of situation between SIDS, in terms of how these challenges are actually
expressed for individual SIDS. Our Member States will raise some of these
particular regional or geophysical specificities as this High Level Segment
progresses, in compliance with your various questions.
AOSIS is by no means complacent about these challenges. These sectors are
very important for SIDS, and are underpinned in our view by the
overarching issue of SIDS vulnerability. Any effort by SIDS to address
actions and policies under these sectors must take our special situations and
our vulnerability into account. Indeed it is the cross-cutting issue of
resilience building which is to our groups so important.
The nexus of water and sanitation issues for SIDS is as I have mentioned
very much related to our resilience building requirements. As noted in the
preparatory meeting of CSD, water and sanitation have a particular set of
elements that are peculiar to SIDS. Some relate to our finite size and
catchment area for water, as well as for our possibilities for storage and
disposal. Size and oceanic location do govern our water and sanitation
Global Climate change and sea level rise is a serious aspect in relations to
water. The harmful effects of global climate change in islands require an
immediate, urgent application of science and technology to provide coping
strategies related to rising sealevel and the increased frequency and duration
of droughts and floods. AOSIS strongly believes there is direct linkage
between the effects of climate change and, sea level rise on water, sanitation
and human settlements as foreseen in the UNCCC, the JPOA and the MS
itself. After -the world have seen the serious devastations in small island
developing States and many low-lying coastal areas from the effects of
climate change and sea level rise on water, sanitation and settlements, it is
most regrettable that this linkage is been down played in the decisions this
august body are about to take. AOSIS calls for careful consideration of the
Finally, as agreed in the MS AOSIS strongly believes the review sessions of
the CSD should include a segment to review progress of the Strategy's
implementation. We believe a special committee or ad hoc working group
would be necessary to enhance such a review of the MS. To ensure the
success of the MS, AOSIS appeals for understanding and due consideration
of this important need by this body.
I thank you Mr Chairman.