PHL Ambassador to New Zealand attends the third international conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa
Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia H. Benavidez headed the Philippine delegation to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) held in Apia, Samoa on 1-4 September 2014. Deputy Permanent Representative to the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York Irene Susan B. Natividad also attended the SIDS Conference. The Conference with the theme "The Sustainable Development of SIDS Through Genuine and Durable Partnerships" was attended by delegations from 116 states together with representatives from various international organizations and civil society. In his speech at the opening of the plenary session on 1 September 2014, H.E. Tuliaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the SIDS Conference pointed out the it becomes increasingly necessary for all countries, regional and international organizations, civil society groups and the private sector to work together and set out specific commitments to address the sustainable development challenges of SIDS. He singled out climate change and recalled that it was the group of small island states that first placed the issue on the international agenda during the Earth Summit in Rio 22 years ago. He stressed that “climate change is a global problem, yet international action to address it remains grossly inadequate.” He said that the issue remains a priority item for SIDS who “contribute the least to the causes of climate change, yet suffer the most from its effects.” The Prime Minister called on Heads of State and Government to take the lead at the Climate Summit in New York this month to announce what each state can do rather than what others should do, and to support an ambitious climate change treaty in 2015. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in his opening remarks, stressed the importance of addressing the vulnerabilities of SIDS saying "island issues affect all of us." Member states must continue to work for the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), address vulnerabilities and needs of SIDS in the post-2015 development agenda and come up with a meaningful legal global climate agreement by 2015. The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. John Ashe highlighted the importance of genuine and durable partnerships to provide a way forward to assist SIDS.
Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives of SIDS delivered statements during the General Debate outlining their priorities and the specific challenges faced by their respective countries in meeting their goals in all three dimensions of sustainable development. They were united in their call for support from the international community in the areas of capacity building, financing assistance, investments, and technology transfer. They also called on Member States to support a post-2015 development agenda that recognizes their special needs and vulnerabilities.
During the General Debate, Heads of State and Government, Ministers and high-level representatives from States announced commitments and offers of assistance to SIDS. The Philippines offered to share best practices on partnerships with the private sector in disaster response and recovery and lessons learned on disaster risk reduction from typhoon Haiyan at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in 2015 and at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey in 2016. In delivering the Philippine statement, Ambassador Benavidez welcomed the thrust of the S.A.M.O.A (Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action) Pathways outcome document on the pursuit of inclusive and equitable growth with poverty eradication, sustainable patterns of consumption and production and protection and management of the natural resource base of economic and social development as the overarching objectives of sustainable development. “We all must work together to ensure that inclusive growth flourishes in the small island developing states as they tread their way to the post-2015 development era so we can live up to our commitment to leave no one behind,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.
The full text of the Philippine statement can be found at the Webtv UN link http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/conferencessummits/3rd-international-conference-on-small-island-developing-states-1-4-september-2014-apia-samoa/plenary/watch/virginia-benavidez-philippines-general-debate-5th-plenary-meeting/3763870226001.