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Jamaica wants more out of 3rd SIDS confab

Wednesday, August 27, 2014    

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JAMAICA is expected to raise concerns about the low rate of implementation from the two previous summits when it attends the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa starting on Monday.

The summit is set for September 1 to 4 under the theme 'The Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States' through genuine and durable partnerships. It will be preceded by activities related to the conference from August 28 to 31.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer, chief technical director in the Ministry of Land, Water, Environment and Climate Change Colonel Oral Khan said Jamaica was concerned that the agreements from the Barbados (1994) and Mauritius (2005) meetings have in large part not been implemented.

"This is the third summit. There was the Barbados summit and the Mauritius summit and I must say the implementation has been lacking. So, we are hoping that out of this will be a greater commitment that will facilitate a smoother implementation of the recommendations," he said.

"We will be exploring the issue of partnerships and how to secure a greater level of implementation," Khan added.

Aside from implementation, he said Jamaica shares the broad concerns of other SIDS —  climate change, sustainable energy, oceans governance, health, food security, and biodiversity.

Kerr will be part of Jamaica's high-level delegation to the Samoa conference and will also include the minister of land, water, environment and climate change; the minister of foreign affairs; permanent secretaries from those ministries; two technical officers; one youth representative; and representatives from local government.

Most of the other Caricom countries will be represented at the conference, some at the level of prime minister, Khan said.

Given their size, location and economic state, Small Island Developing States are particularly vulnerable to natural and environmental disasters and have a limited capacity to respond to and recover from them.

"This UN conference will include a high-level segment to build upon the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) and the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation (MSI), and will identify new challenges for the sustainable development of SIDS," information from the SIDS secretariat website revealed.

The secretariat maintains, however, that partnerships do not have to be multimillion-dollar projects that include all SIDS.

Among other things, the Barbados Plan of Action affirmed that the international community "should cooperate with Small Island Developing States in the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States by providing effective means, including adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources; facilitating the transfer of environmentally sound technology, including on concessional and preferential terms as mutually agreed, taking into account the need to protect intellectual property rights as well as the special needs of developing countries; and promoting fair, equitable and non-discriminatory trading arrangements and a supportive international economic system".

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