Wednesday, October 2, 2013

High-Level Event Raises Visibility of 2014 SIDS Conference

26 September 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly (UNGA) President John Ashe met with 11 Heads of State and Government at a high-level breakfast on 26 September 2013, in New York, US.

The gathering aimed at raising the profile of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which will convene in Apia, Samoa, from 1-4 September 2014.

The theme of the conference, 'The Sustainable Development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships,' not only applies to SIDS but also to “the effective delivery of all our broader development goals, which will require empowered partnerships based upon mutual trust, equality, respect and accountability,” said Ashe in his remarks. He said partnerships can play a key role in addressing issues of importance to SIDS, including climate change, energy, oceans and seas, waste management, sustainable tourism, environmental audits and indicator systems, and stakeholder engagement. Ashe said he will devote "considerable time and personal commitment to the success of the SIDS 2014 Conference, in particular to facilitate the identification of practical, strategic and concrete partnerships." He concluded that while SIDS have long been associated with vulnerability, "they are not helpless or hopeless."

In his address, Ban encouraged the use of both traditional forms of communication and new media to raise the Conference's profile and to call attention to the issues facing SIDS. He said much has changed since the first SIDS conference in Barbados in 1994, that climate change is now a "household term," and the "communications revolution" has provided many more tools for raising awareness. In 2014, "every participant can use social media to tell the story."

Other speakers at the breakfast included Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, EU President Joao Manuel Barroso, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, and Secretary-General of the Conference and UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo.

The breakfast took place on the sidelines of the 68th UN General Assembly (UNGA). [Third International SIDS Conference Website] [Remarks of UN Secretary-General] [Remarks of PGA] [UN Press Release]

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