Friday 5 September 2014, SIDS Conference, Apia, Samoa –
Congratulating the Government and people of Samoa for their superb hosting of several thousand delegates to the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), said it was clear ‘the global community will leave not just with a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities of SIDS – but also a great appreciation of our unique and distinctively proud island cultures’.
During a non-stop week in Apia, 53 events were held as part of the SIDS Conference. They included side events on specific partnerships and multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues on the conference’s six focus areas – sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management; social development (including health and NCDs, gender and youth); sustainable energy; oceans and biodiversity; and water and sanitation, food security and waste management.
SPC featured in around 30 of the 53 events and was recognised as a key implementing partner in some 52 partnerships across the six areas by several Pacific Leaders, including the Chair and host of the SIDS Conference, the President of Palau, and the Prime Ministers of Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
The President of Palau, HE Tommy Remengasau, launched the Pacific NCD Partnership, saying it had the support of Pacific Islands Forum Leaders, Pacific Ministers of Finance and Health and major development partners and stakeholders, and stressing the obligation that ‘we halt the curse of NCDs in the Pacific’.
The Pacific Regional Data Repository, which is hosted by SPC and supports the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, was heralded by the Prime Minister of Samoa and President of the 2014 SIDS Conference, the Hon. Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, as a fine example of regionalism in action.
In his address to the final plenary session of the SIDS Conference, Dr Tukuitonga reiterated SPC’s commitment to sustainable development in Pacific Island countries and territories, saying that real progress requires being able to monitor implementation, measure results and adjust approaches to meet country needs.
Noting the SAMOA Pathway called for special attention to implementation, data and statistics and institutional support for SIDS, he said SPC has provided long-term support for developing national statistical systems and through its National Minimum Development Indicators database will continue to assist countries to meet their implementation and monitoring commitments.
Dr Tukuitonga said SPC will place emphasis on participation in the Interagency Consultative Group to continue a partnership with the UN system to assess how partners can best support Pacific SIDS in implementing the SAMOA Pathway.
He said SPC looks forward to actively participating in the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and Post-2015 development agenda initiatives and stressed the need for development partners, both governments and agencies, to become better at viewing development, and development interventions, as a process that happens across sectors. He urged them all to develop these types of responses and to treat partners as ‘indispensable resources that are part of the solution’.
‘If we view development in this manner, as we must, then working in durable and true partnerships – the theme of the Conference – is a natural response. No single institution can do it all. It also means that both governments, from the top, and communities, from the bottom, must be vigorously involved together.’