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Mr. Wu’s Blog on Successful Conclusion of the SIDS Conference
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  • By UN-DESA on 8 Sep 2014
8 Sep 2014 - After four invigorating days of plenary discussions and parallel multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues, the SIDS Conference came to a successful conclusion on 4 September 2014, followed by a moving flag-lowering ceremony. I want to avail myself of this space here to express once again my heartfelt thanks to the Government and people of the Independent State of Samoa for hosting the Conference.

The SIDS Conference was further enriched by four days of pre-conference forums and activities, as well as by more than one hundred side events and parallel events. There was great enthusiasm among delegates, UN colleagues, business and civil society participants. It is considered the biggest international conference ever held in the Pacific islands. It brought to Apia 21 Heads of State and Government, 97 Ministers, and 115 Member State delegations, as well as 6 delegations of Associate Members of Regional Commissions. Over 2300 participants from Member States, UN system, Major Groups and Media attended the Conference, along with a significant number of participants from local communities.

In my view, the Conference achieved several important outcomes with potential long-term impact on the ground. The adoption of the outcome document Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action - the Samoa Pathway sent a strong message of the international community’s commitment to and partnership with SIDS. The Samoa Pathway captures a broad range of challenges facing SIDS, with an unequivocal emphasis on the urgent need for addressing SIDS social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities, in particular the impact of climate change. In this regard, it is worth noting that many speakers looked forward to an ambitious and legally binding climate agreement in Paris in 2015.

Among other major issues tackled by the Conference was debt sustainability, non-communicable diseases and disaster risk reduction, as well as the sustainable development and management of oceans and seas - an area where SIDS have shown great leadership.

Overall, the Samoa Pathway sets forth in a concise and focused manner the priorities of SIDS and the commitments to specific actions. There is an expectation that these priorities will be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.

Participants acknowledged with appreciation the leadership of SIDS in addressing the growing impact of climate change and in protecting oceans and seas. The Samoa Pathway also recognizes that financing from all sources, including ODA and concessional financing, is critical for the sustainable development of SIDS.

I would like to conclude this series of blogs in the same way as I did in my closing statement in Apia: May the Spirit of Genuine and Durable Partnerships be with you!

Wu Hongbo
UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General & Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on SIDS

Also highlighted during the Conference was the message that achieving sustainable development is a shared mission for all. The role of the private sector was reaffirmed at the pre-Conference Private Sector Forum, as well as during the general debate and the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues. It was repeatedly underscored that partnerships are critical in pursuing the sustainable development of SIDS. Some 300 partnerships for SIDS have been registered on the Conference website, of which some 100 were launched during the Conference. Preliminary estimate puts the total value of these partnerships at close to $1.9 billion. They are an integral part of the Conference’s outcomes and a legacy with impact on the ground.

As I said at the closing of the Conference, with Island Voices being heard, Global Choices being made through the Samoa Pathway, and hundreds of partnership initiatives launched, we must move on to the next stage of our work. That is accelerated implementation, which we can seek to do at several levels.

At the intergovernmental level, the monitoring and accountability mechanisms of the Conference will consist of, among others, an integrative intergovernmental review involving the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the High-level Political Forum, as well as a partnership platform to be maintained by DESA, supported by an inter-agency consultative group.

At the UN system level, as called for by the Secretary-General at the CEB meeting in Samoa, the UN family will redouble efforts in follow-up to the conference, and provide coordinated support for the implementation of the Samoa Pathway and the various partnership initiatives.

At the Secretariat level, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs will continue to work with OHRLLS, Regional Commissions and UN system organizations to monitor all the commitments, pledges and partnerships made in Samoa and submit reports to the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the High-level Political Forum on the implementation progress.

I would like to conclude this series of blogs in the same way as I did in my closing statement in Apia: May the Spirit of Genuine and Durable Partnerships be with you!

Thank you.