Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Small Island States (SIDS) in 2014

Antigua St. John’s - In keeping with the request of Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer; the United Nations has officially dedicated 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States.

Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer

Prime Minister Spencer tabled the request at the UN General Assembly in September 2012, where he also pointed to Antigua and Barbuda’s role on behalf of the region, in sending a strong message of awareness to the international community on the need for bold action and support for sustainable development, and the pervasive issue of climate change.

“We cannot wait for our lands to disappear before we act. We must act now to respond to the climate crisis, and ensure that not a single country is sacrificed, no matter how small.

“The threat is real, our sea-levels are rising, there is coral bleaching beyond the depths of our shores, and hurricanes are becoming more recurrent and severe,” the Prime Minister told the United nations General Assembly.

National Information Officer with the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) for the Caribbean Area, Amanda Laurence, currently in Antigua, confirmed to local journalists on Tuesday that the year has indeed been delegated as the International Year of Small Island Developing States, and has been added to the UN Calendar for 2014.

She noted that the UN seriously considered Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Spencers’ proposal, and agreed that “the focus would be on them (the Caribbean) as requested.”

“I don’t have information on all the activities that will be rolled out for it next year but as those events are identified, the information would sent out,” Laurence said.

Antigua and Barbuda joined with the Small Island Developing States(SIDS) to point out to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) the need for concrete steps in order to protect these, and other exposed countries from the threat of climate change.

“The responsibility to mitigate climate change should be a collective consciousness for both developing and developed countries; however, developed countries should accept their responsibilities as the leading contributor in emitting extremely high levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which are now threatening the welfare of the present and future generations,” Antigua’s Prime Minister said. More