Small islands hope for a ‘meaningful’ outcome at SIDS4

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) from around the world are in Antigua and Barbuda to develop a 10 year prosperity and sustainable development plan.

This is the fourth edition of the conference (SIDS4) under the theme “charting the course toward resilient prosperity”.

There are almost 60 states involved in the ongoing discussions at the conference.

United Nations SIDS unit chief, Sai Navoti, said this is a legacy partnership between nations and he is impressed by the number of Pacific Island states attending.

Pacific leader’s are using their so called ‘roadmap to prosperity’ or the 2050 Blue Pacific Strategy to guide discussions.

Navoti said the strong involvement of Pacific Islands Forum members and CROP (Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific) agencies will ensure discussions and outcomes have impact.

“I’m very happy indeed to see a large number of our Pacific island leaders represented here,” he said.

“This will make this type of global declaration meaningful to our own people.”

Pacific ocean commissioner Dr Filimon Manoni is advocating for more discussions on ocean resource management at SIDS4.

Dr Manoni said there is much to be discovered in the ocean and proper management needs to be a priority.

“At the end of the day we are all oceans people. The ocean is the sole breadbasket for us, it is the source of livelihood, it is the source of our identity, and source of economic development,” he said.

“It dawned on many of us about how little we know about what is there in the ocean.”

He said the voices of young people also need to be heard in these discussions, with a youth forum also being held on the sidelines of the conference.

Dr Manoni said he has been impressed with the youth priority document which aligns with the Blue Pacific’s 2050 strategy.

“What that shows us is that we are aligned in our thinking going forward as SIDS, for how we could achieve our nation building aspirations as we move forward.

“The young people should be given a voice to be able to express their views because they are the future leaders.”

Meanwhile, a Pacific business advocate wants to see government and private sector working closer together on this prosperity and development plan.

Howard Politini said all Pacific nations serve the same people.

“We are speaking a language of reality where we cannot be isolated,” he said.

“We need to knock the walls down between government and private sector and realise that what we’re doing, we do for the same people…we can talk through how we do this together.”

The countries need to agree on their 10 year plan by Thursday.

Draft outcome document of the International Conference on Small Island Developing States here.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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