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The first preparatory meeting for the Third International Conference for Small Island Developing States, to be held in September in Apia, Samoa, began in earnest yesterday in New York.

In his opening statement, Fiji’s Head of Delegation to the Prep Com, Mr Pita Wise, voiced Fiji’s support to the collective call by delegations on the use of the SIDS Inter-regional outcome document as the starting point of the preparatory process.

“The SIDS document represents our collective views on how best to tackle the issues of priority to us for our sustainable development. As others have said, it is the starting document for any discussion that we engage in at these preparatory meetings and our efforts in this process should only seek to improve and strengthen that document,” he said.

Mr Wise underscored the importance of the modalities that will be adopted in the implementation of sustainable development programs. “It is imperative that national strategies and priorities for sustainable development are taken into account when providing development assistance to SIDS and when considering the type of intervention required.”

He added that “the key message in this regard is that we, the SIDS, must take ownership of the process of implementing sustainable development assistance and programs for our respective countries.

This will ensure efficiency, effectiveness and cohesion of such programs and assistance. It requires that we collectively work together in a more systematic and coordinated manner to

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address issues of common interest.”

On the strategic global partnerships that must be harnessed to mainstream the sustainable development of SIDS, Wise underscored the need for SIDS to “address the imbalance that so often characterizes the relationship between small island countries and our partners.

It demands a new level of cooperation and commitment, one that emphasizes trust and mutual respect in our partnerships moving forward. We firmly believe that this will reinvigorate our approach to addressing sustainable development.”

He reminded the meeting on the need to maintain the focus on a global SIDS outcome in September which is “concise, forward-looking and result-oriented document that is readily translatable into tangible benefits for the people of Small Island Developing States.”

The Fijian delegation includes Luke Daunivalu and Setaita Tupua-Kalou of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The meeting continues today and will end on Wednesday.

Source: Ministry of Information