International community can do more for SIDS, says Barbados PM
Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has lamented that even though small island developing states (SIDS) have kept their side of the bargain in attempting to implement sustainable strategies consistent with the Barbados programme of action (BPOA) and the Mauritius strategy of further implementation, the resources promised by the international community have not all been forthcoming.
Stuart made the comments while delivering a statement on The Journey of SIDS – Recalibrating and Consolidating for the new Development Pathway, at the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Samoa from September 1 to 4.
The prime minister told his audience: “Far be it, however, for any SIDS member state to claim that larger and wealthier countries and international financial institutions have done nothing to help SIDS. We just say that present circumstances require them to do more.
“But we cannot afford to be seen merely as disgruntled and complaining suppliants. We must recognise that there are things that we can do for ourselves.”
Stuart reiterated that SIDS must speak with one voice at the international level, saying the new global architecture for sustainable development, including the United Nations Environment Assembly and the High-Level Political Forum, demanded it.
He contended that, although much had changed since the early 1990s, when the first SIDS Conference was held, a lot had remained the same. According to him, in the second decade of this new century, the world continues to battle the old and new foes of sustainable development.
The prime minister added that the International Monetary Fund had also acknowledged that SIDS had slid down the ladder of progress in the last ten years.
Therefore, he stated, the ongoing conference must make a difference and he suggested that it should be used to forge a revitalised and fresh partnership between SIDS and the international community to address some of the fundamental social, economic, and environmental challenges bedevilling them.
Stuart repeated his view that the achievement of the major outcomes of the conference would require a commitment to establish inter and intra-regional SIDS inter-governmental mechanisms in the three SIDS regions.
“These entities should be intergovernmental in character, driven by SIDS, with the support of the international community and should provide an institutional basis for facilitating SIDS-SIDS cooperation. Once operationalised, these mechanisms could also be used as intermediaries on behalf of SIDS for facilitating direct access to resources such as the Green Climate Fund.
“Our fear is that if this august gathering does not have the will to attack frontally the unsatisfactory pace of implementation of the BPOA and the MSI, the execution of many elements of the Samoa pathway will be cheated of fulfilment,” he suggested.
The prime minister called on the United Nations and international community to give consideration to his proposal, saying Barbados stood ready to work with them and that it would also gladly serve as a hub for inter- and intra-regional SIDS cooperation.