The General Assembly, following meetings held this afternoon and evening, concluded its twenty-second special session on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, by adopting two related final documents.

By the terms of a Declaration, States called on the international community to provide adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources — particularly in tackling complex issues such as poverty — and support for capacity- and institutional-building programmes and projects in small island developing States (SIDS). They also called for increased efforts to assist SIDS in obtaining the transfer of environmentally sound technology needed for achieving sustainable development and implementing the Programme of Action.

Further, successful implementation of the Programme would require action by all partners in the following areas: to foster an enabling environment for investment and external assistance; resource mobilization and financing; the transfer of environmentally sound technologies as set forth in the Programme; and capacity-building, including education, training, awareness-raising and institutional development.

Among the key actions recommended by the text on further initiatives was the formulation of sustainable development strategies, which set out clear indicators, and benchmarks of progress reflecting individual country circumstances and wider goals. It also called for resource mobilization and finance and for identification of programmes and projects, with particular reference to the areas identified for urgent action. Further by the text, there was a call for the improvement of the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral development assistance.

General Assembly Plenary – 1a – Press Release GA/9614 Twenty-second Special Session ENV/DEV/524 4th & 5th Meetings (PM & Night)
28 September 1999

The international community was called on to provide support to SIDS to improve and strengthen their capabilities in the field of trade policy to assist them in coping with the challenges posed by the globalization of markets. Support and technical assistance was also needed to enhance their effective participation in multilateral trade negotiations, activities and dispute settlement (including the dispute- settlement mechanism of the World Trade Organization) and formulating a positive agenda for future trade negotiations.

The completion of the quantitative and analytic work on a vulnerability index for small island developing States, preferably by the year 2000, was called for in the text, as well as the building of capacity at all levels for the long-term monitoring and evaluation of vulnerability.

By the terms of a draft decision entitled “Letter dated 24 September 1999 from the Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations addressed to the President of the General Assembly”, the Assembly took note of the letter, which transmitted a draft resolution submitted by Guyana (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China) and Mexico, on the Caribbean Sea as a special area. It decided to transmit the letter and its annex to the Assembly at its fifty-fourth session for further consideration by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), under the agenda item entitled “Environment and sustainable development”.

In closing remarks, the President of the Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), said that, without funds, resources and the good will of nations and multilateral institutions, sustainable development could not be achieved. Time was running out, and the international community had to act. Agenda 21 and the Barbados Programme of Action remained as urgent and relevant today as when they were articulated. The session was, in part, a reminder to the international community to live up to the promises made and complete the assistance programmes undertaken.

The Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole, John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda), introduced that body’s report.

Also this afternoon, the Assembly adopted the report of its Credentials Committee.

Statements were made this afternoon and evening by the Deputy Prime Minister of Mauritius and the Foreign Ministers of Thailand, Bahamas, Madagascar, Indonesia, Burkina Faso, United Republic of Tanzania, Bangladesh and Guinea-Bissau.

General Assembly Plenary – 1b – Press Release GA/9614 Twenty-second Special Session ENV/DEV/524 4th & 5th Meetings (PM & Night)
28 September 1999

The Minister for Environment of the Netherlands, the Minister for Home Affairs, Housing and Environment of the Maldives, and the Minister for Environment and Social Development of Kiribati also addressed the Assembly.

The representatives of Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Colombia, Gambia, Israel, Spain, Malaysia, Antigua and Barbuda, Monaco and the Republic of Korea also spoke.

In addition, the Assembly was addressed by the following observer delegations: the European Community; the Holy See; the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; and the Caribbean Community. The Secretary- General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Secretary-General of the South Pacific Forum, the Secretary-General of the Association of Caribbean States, and representatives of the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Anguilla also spoke.

The following non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also made statements: the Caribbean Conservation Association; the Pacific Concerns Resource Centre; and the Pan African Movement.

Statements after the adoption of the texts were made by the representatives of Finland (on behalf of the European Union), United States, Guyana (on behalf of the Group of 77 and China) and Samoa (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States).

The Assembly will meet at 10 a.m. tomorrow to continue its general debate.

Highlights of Session

Over the two days, many speakers pressed the international community to act with more urgency to address the needs of small island developing States. Addressing the opening day of the two-day session, Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged that community to reaffirm its commitment to the island nations, stressing that they were front-line zones where many of the main problems of environment and development were unfolding in concentrated form. Despite genuine progress and efforts by the international community, it needed to do more in terms of investment, official development assistance, and low-cost technologies.

Similarly, the President of the Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), noted that the most common hurdle faced by small island States was insufficiency of funds. External support had not been forthcoming on the scale promised, and small island States with highly open economies were being adversely affected by the vagaries of the international

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