A Fijian Government delegation is in Apia, Samoa for the Third international conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The conference in Samoa is a once in a decade opportunity where the international community focuses its attention on issues that confront small island developing States.
The International Conference theme is “Sustainable development of SIDS through genuine and durable partnerships.” The conference is aimed at addressing the six thematic areas identified for partnerships. They include sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management; social development, health & NCDs,youth & women; sustainable energy; oceans, seas and biodiversity; and water & sanitation, food security & waste management.
While the key messages going into the conference highlight the gravity of the environmental, economic and social challenges confronting SIDS on a daily basis, they also recognise the increasing urgency for development partners worldwide to effectively mobilise financial and other resources in partnership with all stakeholders to enable SIDS to realise their sustainable development goals.
From 28-31 August, several pre-conference events have been organised specifically for NGOs, including youths and women, and the private sector. With an emphasis on partnership and inclusive participation, the pre-conference segment is intended to catalyse new partnerships and strengthen existing ones between Governments, NGOs and theprivate sector, as well as among NGOs and the private sector themselves.
On Friday 29 August, the head of the Fijian delegation and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Mr Pita Wise, participated as a panelist at a side event highlighting the importance of Marine Managed Areas. The establishment of MMAs contributes to the conservation of the Pacific’s greatest asset, which are its ocean and marine resources. In his remarks, Mr Wise indicated that the Fiji Government is committed to protecting 30% of its marine resources by the year 2020, reaffirming the Government’s declaration on this issue in Mauritius 10 years ago at the last SIDS global conference.
Mr Wise also met with the Vice President of the Asian Development Bank on Saturday, 30 August, to discuss issues relating to Fiji’s ongoing development plans. In the spirit ofpartnership, the ADB Vice President, Mr Jacob Groff, assured Mr Wise that the Bank stands ready to assist Fiji in its national reforms and is working together with the World Bank to streamline reporting processes as a means of facilitating the countries’ development needs.
Several bilateral meetings have been organised over the next few days between the head of the Fiji delegation and development partners with a view to exploring new opportunities for partnership or to strengthen existing relationships. There are also many side-events at which the Fiji delegation will be participating to highlightFiji’s experiences and sustainable development achievements.
The official sessions of the Conference will run from 1 to 4 September, with many parallel events and side events scheduled during that period. Around 3,000 participants representingGovernments, private sector and civil society are expected to attend the conference.
The Fijian delegation to the Samoa conference is made up of representatives from the Government, private sector and civil society organisations. Many of the NGOs and private sectors participants from Fiji have been involved in the development of Fiji’s Green Growth Framework, which sets out the nation’s homegrown sustainable development pathway for the next decade.
Notable speakers at this conference will include the President of the UN General Assembly, Mr John Ashe; the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, Heads of State and Government from the Pacific region and around the world, other high level dignitaries, including CEOs of transnational corporations and leaders of NGOs.