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By Pita Ligaiula in New York
United Nations secretary general says today’s global review is an opportunity for the international community to take stock of progress made on implementing the SAMOA Pathway, and identify challenges.
Speaking at the opening of the SAMOA Pathway midterm review, António Guterres the midterm review should help governments to chart a way forward based on strong partnerships with the private sector, civil society, academia and others.
“It is an important chance for the international community to demonstrate the necessary solidarity.
“The SAMOA pathway is a global effort based on a collective vision. All countries must meet their commitments.
“The United Nations system will continue to support the governments of small island states in expanding their activities and partnerships for sustainable development,” Gueterres told World leaders.
He said Small Island Developing States are a special case for sustainable development.
“They require concerted long-term attention and investment of the entire international community.
“The SAMOA Pathway will guide us as we work together for a better future for Small Island Developing States, and lives of dignity and prosperity for all.
“Small Island Developing States have led the world in ambition and effort on the climate emergency, consistent with the 1.5-degree warming that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has advised is the upper limit for adaptation,” he explained.
On Monday at the Climate Action Summit, Small Island States together committed to carbon neutrality and to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, again leading the world in the right direction, he said.
“But the climate crisis is piling injustice upon injustice.
“Despite contributing very little, practically nothing, to global warming, Small Island Developing States are paying the highest price. And because of their middle-income status, many are trapped in an accelerating and unsustainable cycle of disaster and debt. The world must step up and stop it.
“It is time to make big decisions and big investments in Small Island Developing States.
“Today’s political declaration calls for ways to help Small Island Developing States to manage disaster risk, invest in climate-resilient infrastructure and transition to renewable energy.
“It also urges international institutions to help Small Island Developing States, particularly highly-indebted middle-income countries, to access finance.
Solutions exist, and it is time to implement them. Small Island Developing States are on the frontlines of protecting and conserving the oceans that are the lifeblood of our planet,” Guteres said.
He said climate emergency represents the single biggest threat to their survival.
“In small island countries, one natural disaster can erode a generation of development gains. I have seen this in Barbuda and Dominica, and most recently in the Bahamas. Hurricane Dorian was pure hell on earth.
“Around a quarter of the people of Small Island Developing States live five metres or less above sea level. Relocation could severely impact their societies and way of life, and even raise questions of sovereignty and national identity,” Guteres emphasised.
Tijjani Muhammad- Bande, President of the UN General Assembly said today, world leaders have the opportunity and the responsibility to reflect upon the development of some of the most vulnerable member states.
“The people we serve are looking to us for solutions to the existential challenges that threaten their ability to survive and hinder their opportunities to thrive.
“Today’s climate crisis threatens food security and livelihoods. Small Island Developing States are often the hardest hit by climate events. Yet, these Islands produce less than one per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” said Muhammad-Bande.
He said multilateralism is not just about preventative measures – it is also about corrective measures to ensure equality, inclusion and social justice in every country.
“It is only through global efforts such as the SAMOA Pathway that we can address challenges including economic marginalisation encountered by Small Island Developing States in their pursuit of a safe, prosperous and sustainable future which we are all striving towards.
“Priorities set out here by Small Island Developing States must be at the fore of our efforts to realise the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These priorities must be matched by actions and partnerships,” he said.
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