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World leaders put spotlight on Small Island Developing States Conference
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1 Oct 2013 - “We need to bring more attention to the problems that SIDS face,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a high-level breakfast meeting to raise the visibility of the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States.

The conference – to be held from 1 to 4 September in Apia, Samoa – will focus global attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities. It will also serve as an important opportunity to galvanize partnerships for action on sustainable development in small island developing States, or SIDS, including on issues such as climate change, oceans, waste, sustainable tourism, and disaster risk reduction.

The host country of the Conference, Samoa, has called for “genuine and durable partnerships” for SIDS, which has been endorsed by SIDS Ministers at the recent inter-regional preparatory meeting in Barbados.

“Many of your countries are isolated. Your markets are too small to realize economies of scale. All small island developing States are exposed to high risks from environmental threats, especially climate change,” Ban Ki-moon noted.

General Assembly President John Ashe said that although vulnerability has long been associated with SIDS, “these countries are not helpless or hopeless. The SIDS conference presents a distinct occasion to address resilience as an opportunity for creativity, innovation and firm commitment from the international community to support the legitimate aspirations of this unique group of countries,” stated Mr. Ashe, who is from Antigua and Barbuda.

Among the leaders who attended the event were the Heads of State or Government of the Independent State of Samoa, Nauru, South Africa, European Commission, and New Zealand, as well as the Secretary-General of the SIDS Conference and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo.