United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


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Honourable Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi
Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the Third International
Conference on Small Island Developing States
at the
closing of the SIDS Conference
4 September 2014, 6.00 p.m. Upolu Plenary Hall, Apia, SAMOA.
Heads of State and Government
Ladies and Gentlemen.
We have just adopted by consensus the SAMOA Pathway. We have
similarly accepted as part of the conference outcome the summaries of
the six multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue sessions. I want to thank
you all for your cooperation without which we would not be able to
complete our task on time.
This week has been a great privilege for me and all my Pacific brothers
and sisters to host you on our shores at the 3rd SIDS Conference. I hope
your brief sojourn in our islands has given you a deeper appreciation of
our challenges and empathy of our realties and allow you to witness
first-hand what we are doing to deal with the major global problems of
our time. Those were the overriding reasons for us hosting this
I hope this experience has been as rewarding for you as it has been for
us and that you will leave here with a sense of what it feels like to be a
small island developing state in a global arena of competing priorities
and demands, where those with the resources and the influence emerge
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the winners. I hope too that you had a chance to see how we celebrate
our culture to fully appreciate how interwoven our lives, economies and
societies are with our environment. And that fundamentally we are all
part of a global family and our destinies are very much linked with
Before closing, I have a few messages to share with you. I hope your
reflections are similar.
At the outset, let me remind that Samoa is by no means the final
destination for responses to SIDS development challenges. But it an
important launch-point to key future stops on our journey to sustainably
employ the few resources available to SIDS to improve and raise the
standard of living for our communities.
• The first meeting of consequence is BAN Ki-moon’s leaders’ summit
on climate change in three weeks time, an essential forerunner to the
Lima and Paris negotiations for an ambitious climate change treaty in
2015. For SIDS, capturing their positions in a Paris treaty is an
absolute priority.
• Equally important is the 3rd global conference on Disaster Risk
reduction in Japan next March. The gradual but inevitable shift of
focus from SIDS vulnerabilities to building their resilience means any
decisions on this front must be informed by SIDS perspectives.
• And, there are of course the sustainable development goals to be
finalised soon and the post-2015 UN development agenda framework
to be negotiated in due course which should be under SIDS constant
watch so that these key stops do not become missed opportunities
for the group.
Thus after today’s closure, I hope the SAMOA Pathway will not be
viewed as an end in itself to be used only as a reference point for
convenience or until the next SIDS conference. Much investment in
genuine goodwill by SIDS and their partners went into agreeing to the
SAMOA Pathway as the blueprint for SIDS sustainable development for
now and the immediate future.
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To our partners and to SIDS in particular, I trust that over the next ten
years, the SAMOA Pathway will become your compass to guide your trip,
your itinerary so that you don’t miss any important multilateral meetings
along the way, and importantly as your prepaid ticket so that you are
guaranteed a seat on this journey to ensure your voice is heard by other
members on any matter affecting SIDS and the international family.
This week, the messages emanating from SIDS conference had been
heard loud and clear around the globe, thanks to the power of internet
technology and connectivity. Distances had been eliminated and
different time-zones not a barrier anymore. This was made possible with
the support of local IT companies and global corporate partners like
Microsoft Corporation. We owe them all a note of gratitude.
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Today marks a beginning, not an end.
This week we have all helped to build a great SIDS va’a or voyaging
canoe, the SAMOA Pathway. We have also equipped it with the many
paddles necessary to move it forward, through the many partnerships
we have celebrated and launched here in the Pacific. We are departing
on a journey and charting a course together towards the many
multilateral negotiations awaiting us. It is our sincere hope that you will
all be Ambassadors of Goodwill for SIDS. Indeed, as I said at the
outset, Samoa and the Pacific is your home, and you will always be
welcomed as family and friends.
Ladies and gentlemen, the time for speeches is over. We must now set
sail with determination that the course of action we have mapped and
agreed to here at the Third SIDS conference will be delivered to achieve
our priorities. With genuine and durable partnerships established during
the conference there is every reason for SIDS to look ahead to the
future with great comfort and confidence.
I thank you. Fa’afetai ma ia manuia.