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Reflecting on the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States

Samoa showcased to the world a people united when they hosted over 4,000 delegates to the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Hailed as the best United Nations conference ever, UN SIDS was an outstanding success on many fronts. Samoa proved an excellent, warm and welcoming host country with smooth and effective logistics, at all levels. The main “Outcomes Document” adopted by the Conference was the SIDS Accelerated Modalities Of Action (SAMOA) Pathway Outcomes.

This landmark document sets the framework for sustainable development for small island countries and makes a powerful case for small islands at the international level. In fact, the Outcomes Document will be recommended for endorsement by the UN General Assembly at its 69th Session (September 2014). The conference also produced separate outcome documents from the four preconference forums: Youth; Renewable Energy; Private Sector and Major Groups and also the six multi-stakeholder partnerships dialogues: Sustainable Economic Development; Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management; Social Development; Sustainable Energy; Oceans, Seas and Biodiversity; Water, Sanitation, Food Security; and Waste Management. SPREP was very active at UN SIDS in support of Samoa and our Pacific island members.

We were directly involved with 23 side and parallel events at the conference including eight events hosted on the SPREP campus. The majority of these events were implemented jointly with SPREP members and partners. SPREP also fully participated in the pre-conference forums, multi-stakeholder partnership dialogues and at other relevant UN SIDS events. There were many highlights for SPREP at UN SIDS but I would like to highlight four major achievements.

Firstly, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched their Subregional Office hosted at SPREP, together with the signing of the Host Country Agreement between the Government of Samoa and SPREP. This office was launched by the Executive Secretary of UNEP, Achim Steiner, as well as the Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. This is the first UNEP Sub-regional Office to be established anywhere in the world.

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