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The United Nations Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States has its roots in Chapter 17 of Agenda 21. UN General Assembly resolution 47/189, which established the Conference, set the following objectives: review current trends in the socio-economic development of small island developing States (SIDS); examine the nature and magnitude of the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS; define a number of specific actions and policies relating to environmental and development planning to be undertaken by these States, with help from the international community; identify elements that these States need to include in medium- and long-term sustainable development plans; recommend measures for enhancing the endogenous capacity of these States; and review whether institutional arrangements at the international level enable these States to give effect to the relevant provisions of Agenda 21.

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Conference held its organizational session in New York on 15-16 April 1993. Penelope Wensley, Australia"s Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva and Ambassador for the Environment, was elected Chair of the PrepCom. The Committee also elected four Vice-Chairs: Takao Shibata (Japan), Ioan Barac (Romania), John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Jos‚ Luis Jesus (Cape Verde). Barbados, as host country, was an ex officio member of the Bureau. The PrepCom adopted guidelines suggesting that its consideration of SIDS should include actions at the micro level aimed at environment and development planning, measures for enhancing local skills and expertise, and sustainable development planning.

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