First Preparatory Committee Meeting on the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States
H.E Mr. Aunese Makoi Simati
Permanent Representative/Ambassador of Tuvalu to the United Nations
February 24-26, 2014
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Thank YOU Co-Chairs; thank you for convening this important SIDS Preparatory Meeting. Allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new role and the job you have done in organizing this meeting.
Excellencies and Distinguished Delegates:
Tuvalu associates itself with the statements made by the distinguished Chairpersons of PSIDS and AOSIS.
Co-chairs, our meeting today is very timely and pertinent, for we are all aware we are starting a transition from the MDGs and evolve into the design of SDGs and Post 2015 Development Agenda. This meeting is significant to Small Island Developing States and our inherent developmental needs and vulnerabilities with the noble aim still of giving meaning to our overarching UN purpose of making the world a better place, and leaving no one behind.
The core fundamentals of SIDS have not changed since SIDS was first recognized in the 1992 Rio UNCED as ‘special case’.
Co-chairs, we are here to dialogue and be frank about advancing "the stage" and develop genuine and durable partnership as the theme for the Samoa Conference proclaims. I would like to make the following contributions, most of which are also addressed in the Barbados Outcome Document and of great relevance to my country, Tuvalu:
1. SIDS continues to be characterized by multiple structural constraints that include low productive capacity due mainly to natural resource limitations and extreme vulnerabilities to external shocks (financial, economic and environmental). Finding answers to these issues requires knowledge and internalization of such realities.
2. Climate change is a daily reality, given our small land areas and land elevations (2 meters above sea level for Tuvalu); it is a human right and an existential issue for Tuvaluans, whilst it may only be politics; economics; and science to some.
3. The financing resources of Climate Fund as promised under the auspices of the UNFCCC ($100 billion/year) to help developing countries adapt to climate change is at best a credit facility by name only. If the problem is that they need an institution to put climate adaption monies – Tuvalu has a well-developed internationally recognized Tuvalu Trust Fund. A proposed model for Smaller Islands States like Tuvalu.
4. Transfer of technology has not been effectively and adequately materialized. However, in many cases, we need not import technically complex technology, but practical and sustainable alternatives -be it energy, water, or transport.
5. The UN must honor the country national statistics vis-a-vis the UN sourced data. The Pacific national and regional statistics under the SPC (Secretariat of the Pacific Community) is well developed and the UN should use it for example in LDC graduation criteria calculation. In addition, GNI and GDP for Tuvalu are relatively high only because they are elevated by aid; foreign investment earnings, remittances, rental incomes, BUT these are extremely VARIABLE to the mercy of international markets and natural phenomenon beyond our control.
6. International community should pay close attention to the programmes of the countries that are within SIDS regions regarding the real situations in SIDS; in our case what New Zealand and Australia are doing in the Pacific SIDS which include financial governance, temporary work schemes, permanent migration scheme and benchmarking assistance.
Co-Chairs, some countries may have similar traits as Tuvalu - but they are relatively bigger - land mass, and population wise - and better endowed with natural resources; Tuvalu is not. My point is that if we fail to make these distinctions and make generalizations of all SIDS - we will have a tendency to miss the mark. We are thankful that Samoa is hosting the Third International SIDS Conference thus allowing many distant development analysts to visit and experience first-hand the struggles and development constraints synonymous with smaller island countries.
Co-chairs, Let us be very mindful however of the need for our deliberations to be fed into the mainframe of UN system, so that the outcomes and our feedback here are not simply ‘noted’ in DESA, ECOSOC, or UNGA; they should be implementable and concrete actions not just talked. This is what we mean by genuine and durable partnership.
Tuvalu mo te Atua.