Day 1 Session 1


Small Island States “Front-Line Zones” for Problems Of Environment and Development, Secretary-General Tells Session

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, this morning urged the international community to reaffirm its commitment to the world’s small island developing nations, stressing that those States were front-line zones where many of the main problems of environment and development were unfolding in concentrated form. The Secretary-General was addressing the General Assembly on the first day of its two-day special session on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action adopted at the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States held in Barbados in 1994.

Since adoption of the Barbados Programme of Action, small islands were making genuine progress, he said. Many had formulated national plans of action, created appropriate institutions, enacted legislative reforms, and revised their regulatory frameworks. While the international community had supported those moves, island nations needed the international community to do more — in terms of investment, official development assistance, and low-cost technologies.

Following his election, by acclamation, as President of the special session, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia), said a common hurdle faced by most 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 economy and trade. The most pressing economic issues that should be addressed by this session were those that impinged on the economic fragility and vulnerability of island States.

Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), said small island developing States had been recognized as a “special case” for environment and development. While the very essence of that special case had not changed, its application was what was now problematic.


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