18 January 2005

United Nations Meeting in Mauritius on Small Islands Developing States Ends with Renewed Commitment

Secretary-General of the International Meeting Calls the Conference “A Resounding Success”

(Re-issued as received.)

UNITED NATIONS, 14 January -- Declaring the Conference “a resounding success,” the Secretary-General of the United Nations International Meeting on Small Island Developing States, Anwarul K. Chowdhury, reiterated his call at the concluding session of the Conference, for a dynamic system of monitoring the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy, and said, “Monitoring should not conclude with simple stocktaking, but should be a process by which implementation loopholes, failures or slackness can be identified and corrective measures taken.”

Congratulating Mr. Berenger, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, on his effectively conducting the conference as President of the Meeting, Mr. Chowdhury referred to both the Mauritius Declaration and Mauritius Strategy, “The International Meeting did indeed have a unique difference, in that it has already focused on issues of implementation of the Mauritius Strategy agreed to at this Meeting.”

“With the outcome documents now in our hands, we have to look forward towards the road to implementation. How we will accomplish this process is in the hands of the stakeholders – the donor community, the multilateral financial institutions, civil society, private sector, regional organizations and the Small Island Developing States themselves,” he added.

The Secretary-General of the International Meeting suggested the outlining of a Roadmap for the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy. “Such a Roadmap would serve as an overarching guideline,” he said.

The 20-paragraph Mauritius Declaration reaffirms the continued validity of the Barbados Programme of Action as the “blueprint providing the fundamental framework for the sustainable development of small island developing States”. Reiterating that the acknowledged vulnerability of such States will grow unless urgent steps are taken, it reaffirms the world’s commitment to support the efforts of small island developing States for their sustainable development through the further full and effective implementation of the Barbados Programme.

The Declaration further reaffirms that small island developing States continue to be a “special case” for sustainable development. It recognizes that the tragic impact of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and the recent hurricane season in the Caribbean and the Pacific highlight the need to develop and strengthen effective disaster risk reduction, early warning systems, emergency relief, and rehabilitation and reconstruction capacities. The text welcomes the declaration of the Special ASEAN Leaders Meeting held in the aftermath of the recent disaster that proposed establishment of a regional natural disaster early warning system for the Indian Ocean and the Southeast Asia region. Further, it commits to full implementation of the Framework Convention on Climate Change and to further promotion of international cooperation on climate change.

The Declaration recognizes that particular attention should be given to building resilience in small island developing States, including through technology transfer and development, capacity-building and human resource development. It further recognizes that international trade is important for building resilience and sustainable development and, therefore, calls upon international financial institutions to pay appropriate attention to the structural disadvantages and vulnerabilities of small island developing States. Further, the Declaration underscores that attention should be focused on the specific trade- and development-related needs and concerns of small island developing States to enable them to integrate fully into the multilateral trading system in accordance with the Doha mandate on small economies. The text goes on to address women and youth, conservation of marine biodiversity, the importance of cultural identity, HIV/AIDS, and commits to timely implementation of the Mauritius Strategy.

The 30-page Mauritius Strategy states that the Barbados Programme remains the “blueprint” for the sustainable development of small island developing States, and elaborates on a wide variety of actions under 20 broad headings: climate change and sea-level rise; natural and environmental disasters; management of wastes; coastal and marine resources; freshwater resources; land resources; energy resources; tourism resources; biodiversity resources; transport and communication; science and technology; graduation from least developed country status; trade: globalization and trade liberalization; sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development; sustainable production and consumption; national and regional enabling environments; health; knowledge management; culture; and implementation.

Press Contact: Nosh Nalavala, Media Officer, United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States
Tel: (917) 367-2471, e-mail: nalavala@un.org Website: www.un.org/ohrlls

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