Wide attendance, focused attention needed for islands meeting - UN official

21 October 2003

The top United Nations advocate for poor countries has called for the greatest possible participation in next year's meeting on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and has outlined a series of topics for focus.

Anwarul Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and SIDS, told the General Assembly's Economic and Financial Committee that "the widest possible range of stakeholders, including Member States, multilateral financial institutions, the private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other civil society organizations should participate" in the conference to be held next August in Mauritius.

The meeting is a 10-year review of the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, which was signed in 1994.

Mr. Chowdhury said for Mauritius "we need a focused agenda." He suggested the delegates identify priorities, to include the vulnerability - economic, social and environmental - of SIDS, poverty eradication measures, freshwater issues, climate change, renewable energy, development of marine resources and sustainable fisheries, HIV/AIDS, and trade.

He said global advocacy for the cause of SIDS and the mobilization and coordination of international support for realizing the Mauritius outcome was vital in helping those countries face development challenges in the coming years.