Summary report, 31 December 1994

1994 Year-end Update on SIDS

Even though the Global Conference on the Sustainable Developmentof Small Island Developing States has come and gone, importantwork remains to be done in implementing the Programme of Actionadopted by the Conference on 6 May 1994. In this regard, the49th United Nations General Assembly reviewed the outcome of theConference and adopted a resolution that addresses a number ofissues, including the establishment of an office within the UNDepartment for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development tosupport the system-wide implementation of the Programme ofAction. The General Assembly also gave initial consideration tothe UNDP feasibility studies for SIDS/NET and SIDS/TAP.

This special year-end issue of the Earth NegotiationsBulletin will review relevant activities that have takenplace since the Global Conference on the Sustainable Developmentof Small Island Developing States, which took place from 25 April- 6 May 1994, summarize the results of the General Assembly"sconsideration of the Conference, and highlight upcoming events.This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin is publishedas part of a series of year-end issues intended to summarize thecurrent state of play in the various sustainable developmentconferences and negotiations reported on by the Bulletinin 1994.


The United Nations Global Conference on the SustainableDevelopment of Small Island Developing States has its roots inChapter 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 smallisland developing States (SIDS); examine the nature and magnitudeof the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS; define a number ofspecific actions and policies relating to environmental anddevelopment planning to be undertaken by these States, with helpfrom the international community; identify elements that theseStates need to include in medium- and long-term sustainabledevelopment plans; recommend measures for enhancing theendogenous capacity of these States; and review whetherinstitutional arrangements at the international level enablethese States to give effect to the relevant provisions of Agenda21.

The Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the Conference held itsorganizational session in New York on 15-16 April 1993. PenelopeWensley, Australia"s Ambassador to the United Nations in Genevaand Ambassador for the Environment, was elected Chair of thePrepCom. The Committee also elected four Vice-Chairs: TakaoShibata (Japan), Ioan Barac (Romania), John Ashe (Antigua andBarbuda) and Jos‚ Luis Jesus (Cape Verde). Barbados, as hostcountry, was an ex officio member of the Bureau. ThePrepCom adopted guidelines suggesting that its consideration ofSIDS should include actions at the micro level aimed atenvironment and development planning, measures for enhancinglocal skills and expertise, and sustainable development planning.


The first session of the PrepCom was held in New York from 30August - 10 September 1993. By the conclusion of the two-weeksession, the PrepCom had set the process in motion for theadoption of a programme of action for the sustainable developmentof SIDS. While delegates were able to reach agreement on themajority of the 15 chapters in the Programme of Action, thePreamble and the chapter on implementation, monitoring and reviewremained entirely in brackets. As a result, delegates called foran additional session of the PrepCom to be convened.


The PrepCom met in a resumed session from 7-11 March 1994, at UNHeadquarters in New York. Delegates spent most of the week ininformal sessions where they painstakingly negotiated theremaining bracketed text in the Programme of Action. For the mostpart, delegates based their comments on a comprehensive informalpaper prepared by the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS),"Suggested Amendments to the Draft Action Programme for theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States." Thisdocument contained the AOSIS/G-77 amendments and other commentsand facilitated the work of the Committee. While delegates spentthe most time on Chapter XV, "Implementation, Monitoring andReview," and the Preamble, they also removed some of the bracketsin the other 14 chapters, and commented on the BarbadosDeclaration.

At the conclusion of the resumed PrepCom, most of the bracketedtext remained in the Preamble and Chapter XV. Sections of thePreamble that remained in brackets included: human beings as thecenter of concern for sustainable development; reference toenvironmental destruction caused by external interventions;despite population density, the small population size of SIDSinhibits them from generating economies of scale; thevulnerability of the economic performance of SIDS; women"scritical contributions to sustainable development; the specialsituation and needs of the least developed countries; andreferences to the primary responsibility of national governmentsfor implementing the Programme of Action.

In Chapter XV, issues that remained to be resolved included:reference to the international community"s commitment to meetingAgenda 21 agreements on implementation; the role of the public indecision-making; reordering of economic priorities in the use ofresources and increased use of economic instruments; the role ofthe private sector and the rights of resources owners andintellectual property rights; increasing public awareness andinformation dissemination; sharing financing responsibilities forsustainable development in SIDS; the role of the UN Commission onSustainable Development (CSD) in monitoringimplementation of the Programme of Action; and otherinstitutional follow-up to the Conference.


The Global Conference for the Sustainable Development of SmallIsland Developing States met in Bridgetown, Barbados, from 25April - 6 May 1994. During the course of the Conference,delegates reached agreement on the Programme of Action that setsout a series of recommended actions for the sustainabledevelopment of SIDS at the national, regional and internationallevels. Delegates also negotiated and adopted the BarbadosDeclaration, which was supposed to give the Programme of Actionits political impetus. In addition, they listened as more than 40Heads of State and Government, ministers and other high-levelgovernment officials participated in the High-Level Segment androundtable discussion during the final days of the Conference. Bythe time the final session was gaveled to a close, this firstpost-Rio global Conference had succeeded in charting a new coursefor a group of countries whose needs have often been ignored bythe international community.

Most of the substantive negotiations took place in the MainCommittee, which was chaired by Amb. Penelope Wensley(Australia). The Main Committee"s task was to finish what thePrepCom had begun and, thus, focused its work on reachingagreement on the draft Programme of Action. The Programme ofAction includes a preamble and 15 chapters on: climate change andsea level rise; natural and environmental disasters; managementof wastes; coastal and marine resources; freshwater resources;land resources; energy resources; tourism resources; biodiversityresources; national institutions and administrative capacity;regional institutions and technical cooperation; transport andcommunication; science and technology; human resourcedevelopment; and implementation, monitoring and review.

The Programme of Action is significant in that SIDS are dealtwith holistically and not, as has been traditionally the case,just "coral reefs and beaches." Unlike Chapter 17 of Agenda 21,which calls for national and international actions, this policyblueprint specifies measures to be taken at the national,regional and international levels. As such, it reflectsaccurately on the concept of common but differentiatedresponsibilities. Whereas no major new and additional financialresources are identified in the Programme of Action, there arespecific recommendations on efficiency and re-prioritization ofexisting resources. This was reinforced in the statements of manyof the donor countries during the High-Level Segment who signaledthat SIDS should now receive greater proportions of existing aid.

The second document emanating from the Conference was theDeclaration of Barbados, which was intended as a statement of thepolitical will that underpins the precise agreements contained inthe Programme of Action. The Declaration reaffirms the UNCEDagreements, including the Rio Declaration on Environment andDevelopment, the Statement of Forest Principles, Agenda 21, theFramework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention onBiological Diversity. Casting itself in the spirit of thoseagreements, the Declaration contains two parts. In the first, theparticipants at the Conference affirm the importance of: humanresources and cultural heritage; gender equity; the role of womenand other major groups, including children, youth and indigenouspeople; the sovereign right of SIDS over their own naturalresources; vulnerability to natural and environmental disasters;climate change and sea level rise; limited freshwater resources;special situation and needs of the least developed SIDS; economicvulnerability; capacity building; constraints to sustainabledevelopment; and partnership between Governments, IGOs, NGOs andother major groups in implementing Agenda 21 and this Programmeof Action. In the second part, the participants declare theimportance of national, regional and internationalimplementation, including the reduction and elimination ofunsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and theprovision of effective means for the implementation of theProgramme of Action, including adequate, predictable, new andadditional financial resources.


The organizations and agencies of the UN system are alreadyinvolved in implementing several aspects of the Programme ofAction or are in the process of developing plans and programmesto do so. These activities have been outlined comprehensively inthe report of the Secretary-General submitted to the GeneralAssembly, "Action taken by the organs, organizations and bodiesof the United Nations system to implement the Programme of Actionfor the Sustainable Development of Small Island DevelopingStates" (A/49/425). There are several substantive areas of theProgramme of Action where the UN organizations do not appear tomake specific contributions. These are the areas of transport andcommunications, tourism, and energy resources. Additional effortwill need to be made by relevant organizations to formulate andundertake activities in these substantive areas if the aims andobjectives of these parts of the Programme of Action are to beachieved.

A number of agencies, including FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, Habitat, UNDPand the WMO, have established focal points and other mechanismsto ensure better coordination in the implementation of theProgramme of Action. In addition to reviewing existinginitiatives to ensure that they have an island component, thereare several new initiatives. UNDP has proposed to implement twoCapacity 21 projects in the Pacific and Caribbean regions aimedat promoting capacity building in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. UNCTAD recently completed a paper that setsout a framework for action for island States to deal with theunique trade problems they confront. UNEP and Habitat have alsojointly developed a number of new initiatives to support theProgramme of Action, including case studies on the vulnerabilityof small island developing States to the effects and socio-economic implications of climate change and sealevel rise;technical assistance on waste management; and the establishmentof national and sub-regional Geographical Information Systems.


The organizations and agencies of the UN system are alreadyinvolved in implementing several aspects of the Programme ofAction or are in the process of developing plans and programmesto do so. These activities have been outlined comprehensively inthe report of the Secretary-General submitted to the GeneralAssembly, "Action taken by the organs, organizations and bodiesof the United Nations system to implement the Programme of Actionfor the Sustainable Development of Small Island DevelopingStates" (A/49/425). There are several substantive areas of theProgramme of Action where the UN organizations do not appear tomake specific contributions. These are the areas of transport andcommunications, tourism, and energy resources. Additional effortwill need to be made by relevant organizations to formulate andundertake activities in these substantive areas if the aims andobjectives of these parts of the Programme of Action are to beachieved.

A number of agencies, including FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, Habitat, UNDPand the WMO, have established focal points and other mechanismsto ensure better coordination in the implementation of theProgramme of Action. In addition to reviewing existinginitiatives to ensure that they have an island component, thereare several new initiatives. UNDP has proposed to implement twoCapacity 21 projects in the Pacific and Caribbean regions aimedat promoting capacity building in both the governmental and non-governmental sectors. UNCTAD recently completed a paper that setsout a framework for action for island States to deal with theunique trade problems they confront. UNEP and Habitat have alsojointly developed a number of new initiatives to support theProgramme of Action, including case studies on the vulnerabilityof small island developing States to the effects and socio-economic implications of climate change and sealevel rise;technical assistance on waste management; and the establishmentof national and sub-regional Geographical Information Systems.


The Barbados Programme of Action requested UNDP to undertake astudy of the feasibility of developing SIDS/NET, an information-sharing network for SIDS. The results of this feasibility studywere submitted to the General Assembly in document A/49/414.

SIDS/NET proposes linking SIDS using computer mediatedcommunications technologies now in use around the world. UNDPrecommends using a phased approach for implementing a flexiblesolution to give SIDS full access to global computer networkingas a tool to help them integrate within the world economy.SIDS/NET is based on catalytic donor funding, on cost sharing andcost recovery. It depends on user participation as a principle ofimplementation and as a principle of operation. SIDS/NET, whichwill rely heavily on entrepreneurship, will require capacitybuilding to enhance the ability of SIDS to benefit from thesecomputer communication technologies that will help overcome theirrelative isolation. The estimated cost for SIDS/NET is US$30.9million.

UNDP recommended that: the SIDS/NET programme should begin assoon as possible and no later than 1 July 1995; SIDS should takethe initial steps to approach the donor community as soon aspossible; SIDS should begin a programme to increase understandingand awareness of SIDS/NET; and feasibility studies need to beundertaken in SIDS to determine a solution specific to theirlocal needs and circumstances.


The Programme of Action also requested UNDP to prepare afeasibility study on a technical assistance programme for SIDS inorder to promote inter- and intraregional cooperation. Thefeasibility study is contained in document A/49/459. UNDP heldextensive consultations with SIDS, relevant subregionalinstitutions, DPCSD and within UNDP to develop the content andorientation of SIDS/TAP. In essence, SIDS/TAP is seen asproviding the framework for technical cooperation among the SIDSand as a mechanism for operationalizing the Programme of Action.

It was agreed that SIDS/TAP: should be managed by the SIDSthemselves; should not duplicate existing technical assistanceprogrammes but should build upon such programmes; and should notresult in the creation of new institutions. The amount requiredto assist the SIDS in setting up SIDS/TAP is US$915,000 for itsmain activities: identification and designation of national/subregional focal points; convening of a SIDS/TAP national focalpoints meeting; completion of a directory of institutions andexperts/scholars; determination of specific technical cooperationrequirements to implement the Programme of Action; assessment ofthe capacities of SIDS; assessment of the management andreporting arrangements for the SIDS/TAP Fund; and monitoring andevaluation. The cost of implementing the SIDS/TAP substantiveactivities is US$5.6 million.


On Monday, 7 November 1994, the General Assembly began itsconsideration of Agenda Item 89(e), the Global Conference on theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. TheGeneral Assembly had before it the following documents: thereport of the Conference (document A/CONF.167/9); the report ofthe Secretary-General on action taken to implement the programmeof action (A/49/425 and Add.1); and studies by UNDP on thefeasibility of developing SIDS/TAP, a technical assistanceprogramme for SIDS to promote inter- and intra-regionalcooperation for sustainable development (A/49/459), and on thefeasibility of developing SIDS/NET, an information network forSIDS (A/49/414). The following are the highlights of this debate.

ALGERIA: On behalf of the G-77 and China, Amb. RamtaneLamamra said that the SIDS Conference represents an importantfollow-up to UNCED. While it is clear that the specificimplementation of the Programme of Action is the primaryresponsibility of SIDS, the efforts of these countries alone areinsignificant without support from the international community,including the UN system. It is essential to establish within theDepartment for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development(DPCSD) a qualified and competent entity that could providesecretariat services to intergovernmental and inter-agencycoordination in implementation of the Programme of Action.

GERMANY: On behalf of the EU and Austria, Gerhard WalterHenze said that the EU hopes that the Programme of Action willassist SIDS on the path to sustainable development by enhancingtheir international competitiveness and reducing their economicinstability and ecological fragility. The role of the privatesector and NGOs in the implementation of the Programme of Actionis important. Substantial financial and technical support isbeing provided by the EU and its member States. 620 million ECUs(US$775 million) are being channeled through the Lom‚ Convention.He called for a lasting commitment on the part of all partiesinvolved, improved regional cooperation and donor coordination toensure effective implementation.

BARBADOS: Richard Cheltenham, Minister of Tourism, International Transport and the Environment, on behalf of theCaribbean Community, said that the Barbados Conference wassignificant because it was the first follow-up process to the RioSummit and because it marked the first time that a full-fledgedUN Conference has been held in so small a member State. He urgedthe international community to give its full endorsement to theProgramme of Action and the Barbados Declaration. It is vitalthat the UN Secretariat, through the DPCSD, be equipped tofulfill the monitoring and coordination mandate assigned to it inthe Programme of Action. A complementary response capacity withinthe relevant operational organizations and programmes of the UNsystem must also be established. He also highlighted the role ofthe CSD for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of theProgramme of Action, and the importance of inter-agencycollaboration. He welcomed the reports submitted by UNDP onSIDS/NET and SIDS/TAP.

ICELAND: Amb. Gunnar P lsson, on behalf of the Nordiccountries, said that the main accomplishment of the Conferencewas the adoption of the Programme of Action. It is both ambitiousand comprehensive and focuses on practical steps at the national,regional and international levels to address crucialenvironmental and development concerns of SIDS. It identifiesrealistic means and measures for increasing the capacity of SIDSto cope effectively with their environment and developmentproblems.

INDIA: M.P. Chandrajeet Yadav said that India has set upan Island Development Authority to formulate policies andprogrammes for ecologically sound, suitable and integrateddevelopment of the relatively remote islands in India thatsustain small communities. The creation of jobs for ecologicalrestoration is a marginal investment with significant returns.Decentralization and involvement of local communities is aneffective way of managing the process. The internationalcommunity must determine how it can help reduce thevulnerabilities of SIDS to natural and economic uncertainties.The challenge is to integrate SIDS into the global economicsystem, while ensuring self-sustaining development.

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: On behalf of the Alliance of SmallIsland States (AOSIS), Amb. Annette des Iles said that theimplementation of the Programme of Action must be pursued atthree levels. At the national level, the collective efforts ofgovernments and all groups in society, including women, youth andNGOs, must be harnessed. At the regional level, cooperation isneeded within and between regions. However, actions taken bysmall islands will not guarantee the attainment of the objectivesof sustainable development without assistance from theinternational community. With the full implementation ofSIDS/TAP, each State will be able to devise strategies to addresscommon problems. SIDS/NET could create a concrete and practicalinformation sharing programme. These two programmes should beimplemented before the 50th anniversary of the UN. She alsocalled for the UN regional commissions to concretize theirsupport to SIDS. Within the DPCSD, a clearly identifiable,qualified entity should be put in place to provide secretariatsupport for activities emanating from the implementation of theProgramme of Action.

CHINA: Amb. Wang Xuexian said that both the Programme ofAction and the Barbados Declaration called on the internationalcommunity, especially the developed countries and the relevantinternational agencies, to provide necessary financial resourcesand technologies. Many of the problems that SIDS have to face intheir economic development and environmental protection are notof their own making, nor can they be solved by these countriesalone. Consequently, the international community should attachimportance to this issue. The developed countries have a greatresponsibility in this respect.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: The representative highlighted the roleof the unique ecosystems of SIDS as both a source of incomegeneration and a safeguard of biological diversity. The two majorthreats to the sustainable development of SIDS are internaldevelopment activities and the environmentally unsound activitiesof the external world. He added that the development of humanresources should be given the highest priority since the long-term sustainable development of SIDS depends ultimately on theislands" inhabitants themselves.

AUSTRALIA: On behalf of the South Pacific Forum memberStates, Amb. Richard Butler said that the implementation of theBarbados Programme of Action requires a partnership betweengovernmental and non-governmental organizations and internationaland national communities. The island countries of the SouthPacific have put into effect the commitments undertaken in theProgramme of Action, including national environmental legislationand environmental management strategies. A regional mechanism tocoordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Programme ofAction has now been established with the convening of an advisorycommittee of high officials, in conjunction with SPREP and ESCAP.

NEW ZEALAND: Amb. Colin Keating said the BarbadosConference was widely viewed as a test of post-UNCED acceptanceof global responsibility. The successful adoption of theProgramme of Action represents an enormous achievement, but theinternational community must ensure that the effort put intoBarbados is carried forward. Although the primary responsibilityfor implementation of the Programme of Action rests with SIDSthemselves, they need regional and international support to makeit happen. Development assistance should be managed inpartnership with recipient governments. Strong regionalcooperation and robust regional institutions are essential. Hecalled on the UN system to give higher priority to developingimplementation strategies for the Programme of Action.

CANADA: Amb. Louise Fr‚chette welcomed the successfulconclusion of the Barbados Conference and said that it is a modelfor operationalizing Agenda 21 and adapting it to a particularset of circumstances. SIDS face a unique environmental anddevelopment situation and the Programme of Action and theDeclaration provide road maps for securing their future. To getthere, however, the international community will need to followthrough and carry out the actions envisaged, and Canada is readyto continue its assistance aimed at environmental management andprotection, and to help build capacity in enhancing economiccooperation.

SAMOA: Amb. Tuiloma Neroni Slade said that the Programmeof Action is a blueprint for a global effort and incorporates arealistic and practical tripartite approach of national,regional and international actions. Effective implementation willbe the true test of commitment and he warned against the severeblow to the post-Rio optimism that he feared would be induced bythe absence of concrete commitments from the internationalcommunity. While SIDS have been encouraged to explore "existingfinancial resources," they do not know what "existing financialresources" are there, how they should tap into them, and how theUN should address the question of development resourcesmanagement and effective programme delivery and implementation.

PHILIPPINES: The representative noted that the Philippinescontains over 7,100 small islands and understands the concerns ofSIDS. The SIDS Conference was the first test of the commitmentsmade in Rio. He noted the vulnerabilities of SIDS to theinternational economic climate, natural disasters and tourism. Hestressed the need to establish vulnerability indices. Importantfollow-up issues include the provision of financial resources andthe transfer of environmentally sound technology.

FIJI: Graham E. Leung said that there is a real sense thatwhen all the rhetoric is analyzed, little new financialassistance is available for the SIDS. The sincerity towardsfulfilling the commitments of the Earth Summit are now beingcalled into question. While Fiji welcomes the acknowledgment ofthe unique characteristics of SIDS, recognition itself will notsolve all the problems. The Barbados Conference did have valuableand constructive outcomes, such as UNDP"s preparation of thefeasibility studies for SIDS/TAP and SIDS/NET. The Declarationand Programme of Action are also significant achievements thatcan serve as a blueprint for SIDS to realize the goals ofsustainable development.

SINGAPORE: Amb. Chew Tai Soo highlighted the specialvulnerability factors confronting SIDS, which illustrate thespecial problems faced in the pursuit of economic and socialdevelopment. It is crucial for the international community toimplement the Programme of Action since the problems of developedcountries pale in comparison to those of developing countries. Heemphasized the importance of the speedy establishment of anentity within the DPCSD and to ensure that sufficient resourcesare made available for the implementation of the Programme ofAction.

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA: Amb. Lionel Hurst addressed theformulation of a range of indicators of economic and ecologicalvulnerability that are needed to measure sustainable developmentin a way that the "crude" GNP per capita device cannot. Thisdevice does not reflect the dis-economy of scale caused by thesmall size of SIDS. The emerging Vulnerability Index is notintended for use as a yardstick of poverty or wealth, rather itwill be a measurement device for the lack of economic resiliencearising from the relative inability of a country to shelteritself from forces outside its control.

MARSHALL ISLANDS: Amb. Laurence N. Edwards expressed hisdisappointment at the low level of turn-out from the developedcountries in Barbados, since this was, after all, supposed to bea Conference on, and not of, SIDS. The goals of the Programme ofAction cannot be implemented without the assistance of theinternational community and the funding aspects are an entirelyinadequate section of the Programme. He urged the developedcountries to extend some of their ODA to SIDS and supported thecall by the G-77 to ensure that the target of 0.7% of GNP for ODAis achieved. He commended the work carried out by the UNDP onSIDS/NET and SIDS/TAP and called for the creation of anappropriate entity within the DPCSD.

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA: The representative saidthat a lot of effort had been put in the negotiation of theProgramme of Action, but its implementation will be a tremendoustask and will require the assistance of the internationalcommunity, particularly the developed States. Many of themechanisms for UNCED implementation are in place and the DPCSDshould be home to the focal point for the implementation of theProgramme of Action. The work of the CSD should effectivelyintegrate the outcomes of the Conference.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: The representative said that theConference represents a milestone for the promises of Rio, butthat the survival of SIDS depends on the cooperation of theinternational community. He welcomed the work of UNDP on SIDS/NETand SIDS/TAP, as well as the joint effort of UNDP, the UNCommission on Human Settlements and the World Bank on urbansettlements. Papua New Guinea is strongly involved in thepreparations of a regional convention on the transboundarymovements of hazardous wastes and other efforts relating tointer-island transportation. He said he looked forward to thereport of the CSD and encouraged UN agencies to give greaterconsideration to the implementation of the Programme of Action.

JAPAN: Amb. Shunji Maruyama said that the BarbadosProgramme of Action and Declaration are landmarks on the roadfrom Rio and provide fresh impetus to the work of theinternational community on the sustainable development of SIDS.Now it is time for implementation. The Programme of Actionemphasizes the importance of human resources development and theneed to enhance institutional and administrative capacity. Thisis an orientation that is in accord with Japanese developmentassistance policy. He thanked the Secretary-General and UNDP fortheir reports. It is vital to conduct a continuing review ofplans and programmes. Japan also supports SIDS/NET and SIDS/TAPas a means of achieving South-South cooperation.

MALTA: Walter Balzan said that the SIDS Conference was thefirst concrete step in the implementation of the results of Rio.Investment in the human resources of SIDS has consistentlyyielded high dividends. Malta welcomes the inclusion in theProgramme of Action of its proposal to set up a vulnerabilityindex. Barbados does not mark the end of an exercise. It signalsthe commencement of an on-going process that monitors and ensuresthat the results obtained are consolidated and enhanced.

GUYANA: Neil Pierre said that UNCED was unequivocal inits emphasis on the unique nature and vulnerability of smallisland States and those of low-lying coastal regions. The task isnow to pursue, with vigor and enthusiasm, the full and urgentimplementation of the agreements and decisions of the Conference.But important as they are, these agreements will amount to verylittle unless appropriate mechanisms are established foreffective monitoring and implementation on a system-wide basis.This responsibility should be appropriately located within theDPCSD, as provided for in the Programme of Action.

BAHAMAS: Amb. Harcourt Turnquest said that the Programmeof Action represents a blueprint for a comprehensive andintegrated approach to sustainable development, but that itssuccessful implementation will need the full support of theDPCSD. In this regard, the necessary resources must be providedto the Secretariat so that it may fulfill the functions outlinedin paragraph 123 of the Programme of Action. He welcomed thequick response of UNDP on SIDS/NET and SIDS/TAP, but hehighlighted the fact that SIDS themselves should be the primarygenerators of information for the network. He was particularlypleased with the manner in which the feasibility studies wereprepared, in association with the members of AOSIS themselves.

CYPRUS: Amb. Alecos Shambos said that the Conference canbe characterized as a success, however, recognition and awarenessalone do not suffice to cure the acute problems faced by SIDS.Degradation of the environment, vulnerabilities to climate changeand sea-level rise, and threats to unique ecosystems emerge asissues of great concern. Their mostly single product markets,small size and remoteness, small scale economies, lack ofadequate endogenous capacity, and exposure to pollution andnatural disasters further aggravate the overall challengesconfronting SIDS. He urged the international community to workjointly to fulfill its obligations to present and futuregenerations.

BRAZIL: Amb. Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg said that thecharacteristics of SIDS have made the international communityrecognize their significance to our planet. He noted that theinternational community is apparently still unwilling to meet thefinancial obligations of both Rio and Bridgetown. Less than 10%of the funding for environment-related programmes and projectsagreed at UNCED have been honored. He welcomed the UNDPfeasibility studies and expressed confidence that similar studieswill be prepared so that effective action can be taken toimplement the Barbados Programme of Action. Given appropriateassistance from the international community, SIDS can and willimplement relevant plans and programmes to support theirdevelopment.

VENEZUELA: The representative highlighted the need formore funding for the implementation of the Programme of Action.He added that Venezuela is committed to the Barbados Declarationand considers itself bound by the Programme of Action. Humanresources are the greatest assets of SIDS.

MALAYSIA: Amb. Razali Ismail said that it was urgent toaddress the issue of the survival of SIDS. The Programme ofAction provides a blueprint for their sustainable development andwhile all the countries need to make the transition tosustainable development, the bulk of the burden of change shouldnot be placed on the developing countries, including SIDS.Developed countries already possess and enjoy competitiveadvantages, compared with the severe handicaps of SIDS. Thesecurity of small States has been discussed in other fora and theeconomic, ecological and security challenges confronting SIDSmust be effectively addressed to ensure their continued well-being.

UNITED STATES: Herman Gallegos said the BarbadosConference established an agenda to which the US is committed.The US is working to ensure the participation of developed anddeveloping countries, international and non-governmentalorganizations, academia and the private sector in this effort. Itis the private sector that will ultimately determine the failureor success of a policy. In addition to its coral reef initiative,the US will follow up the Conference through bilateral programmesand multilateral assistance agencies, and ensure that the CSDundertakes the important reviews that will be necessary tomonitor the implementation of the Programme of Action.

PAKISTAN: The representative said that although Pakistanis not a small island, it shares many of the problems confrontingSIDS. Pakistan is convinced that the implementation of therecommendations of the Barbados Conference will go a long waytowards achieving sustainable development objectives. Since Rio,however, environmental degradation has continued unabated.Pakistan is committed to making sustainable development areality. The developed countries have an important role to playin the implementation of the Programme of Action and in assistingSIDS.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The representative said that theProgramme of Action has a practical significance for preservingthe ecosystems and stimulating the economies of SIDS. He alsohighlighted the importance of developing the human resourcespotential. He said his country was ready to establish cooperationwith the small island States. He hoped that the Programme ofAction will be accompanied by the necessary political will foreffective implementation.

GRENADA: The representative said that the adoption of aProgramme of Action is not a guarantee of success, but thatpolitical will and funding will be determinant factors. Theglobal interdependence manifested at Rio gave reason for hope,but failure of the process could lead to a void that would bedetrimental to SIDS. A new and special partnership is needed.SIDS have been made to understand that many developed countriesnow suffer from donor fatigue and they realize that too muchreliance on aid would be detrimental.


A draft resolution on the Global Conference on the SustainableDevelopment of Small Island Developing States (A/C.2/49/L.37) wasfirst tabled by Algeria, on behalf of the G-77 and China, on 22November 1994. After additional consultations, a revised versionof the draft (A/C.2/49/L.37/Rev.1) was tabled on 1 December 1994,with the additional co-sponsorship of: Australia, Austria,Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, NewZealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UnitedKingdom.

The Second Committee took action on L.37/Rev.1 on Friday, 9December 1994. A number of countries questioned the programmebudget implications (PBI) of the resolution, as contained indocument A/C.2/49/L.60. Algeria, on behalf of the G-77, said thatthe posts requested to carry out the responsibilities of the SIDSunit within the DPCSD (two professional-level positions (one P-5and one P-4) and one general service position) are not on a parwith the importance of the tasks to be allocated. He proposedthat a director-level position (D-1) be called for to fulfill thefunctions of the post. Trinidad and Tobago, on behalf of AOSIS,echoed this concern. Germany, on behalf of the EU, said thatadoption of this resolution will be a step forward in theimplementation of the Programme of Action, however, allactivities must be cost-effective. The PBI should be reconsideredbecause it is not sufficiently cost-effective. The Chair notedthat this matter would be taken up by the Fifth Committee of theGeneral Assembly, which is reponsible for budgetary matters.

Before the resolution was adopted, the US commented that withimplementation of the Conference barely underway, it is prematureto discuss another follow-up Conference. As a result, the UScannot co-sponsor this resolution. Nevertheless, the US willcontinue to pursue its coral reef initiative and other effortsaimed at implementing the Programme of Action. After theCommittee adopted the resolution, Trinidad and Tobago, on behalfof AOSIS, thanked delegates for adopting this resolution byconsensus and reiterated AOSIS"s commitment to implementing theProgramme of Action. He called for continued support from theinternational community. The resolution and the PBI are expectedto be adopted by the Plenary of the General Assembly after theFifth Committee approves the PBI. Although the PBI may beamended, the resolution (L.37/Rev.1) should not change.

The operative section of the resolution notes the report of theConference and the summary of the high-level segment and endorsesthe Declaration of Barbados and the Programme of Action for theSustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. Theresolution calls upon Governments, as well as the UN system andother intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, toimplement all commitments reached and recommendations made at theConference and to take the necessary action to give effectivefollow-up to the Programme of Action, including ensuring thenecessary means of implementation.

With regard to the activties of the UN system, the resolution:

  • welcomes the progress made by the FAO, UNCTAD, UNEP, the UN Centre for Human Settlements, UNDP and the WMO in identifying focal points and other similar mechanisms to coordinate the action they are taking to implement the Programme of Action;
  • invites UNDP to continue to carry out its mandate as the lead agency in organizing the efforts of the UN system towards capacity-building at the local, national and regional levels;
  • invites UNDP to initiate the implementation of the technical assistance programme (SIDS/TAP) by preparing a directory and to undertake further consultation with SIDS and other interested parties to determine the most effective means of implemenation of SIDS/TAP; and
  • invites UNDP to coordinate further inter- and intraregional consultations between technical experts of SIDS and other interested States, agencies and organizations to further elaborate the information network (SIDS/NET) and determine the most effective means of implementing it, taking into account SIDS/TAP and the Programme of Action.

The resolution also calls on the Commission on SustainableDevelopment to:

  • make arrangements for monitoring and reviewing, in a distinct and identifiable manner, and in the context of its multi-year thematic programme of work, the implementation of the SIDS Programme of Action;
  • carry out in 1996 an initial review of the progress achieved and steps taken to implement the Programme of Action; and
  • recommend, in the context of the overall review of Agenda 21 in 1997, specific modalities for a full review of the Programme of Action in 1999, including the question of convening a second global conference.

The resolution also requests the Secretary-General to enablerelevant regional commissions and UNCTAD to support activities tocoordinate the implementation of the Conference outcomes. TheSecretary-General is also asked to ensure the wide and effectivedissemination of the Programme of Action.

Finally, the resolution requests the Secretary-General toestablish within the Department of Policy Coordination andSustainable Development a "clearly identifiable, qualified andcompetent entity with the resources and number of professionalsand support staff that are necessary to undertake its broad rangeof functions in support of the system-wide implementation of theProgramme of Action, relying on the most efficient and cost-effective use of resources, in accordance with the provisions ofparagraph 123 of the Programme of Action."


SIDS/NET AND SIDS/TAP: The General Assembly invited UNDPto initiate the implementation of SIDS/TAP by preparing adirectory and consulting with SIDS and other interested partiesto determine the most effective means of implementation. TheGeneral Assembly also asked UNDP to coordinate furtherinterregional and intraregional consultations between relevanttechnical experts of SIDS and other interested States, agenciesand relevant organizations to further elaborate SIDS/NET. WhileAOSIS had hoped that these two programmes would be underway bythe 50th session of the General Assembly in 1995, the resolutiondid not give UNDP any deadlines for implementation. Look for UNDPto continue consultations and development of these two programmesin 1995.

COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Look for the CSD tobegin to incorporate the review of the SIDS Programme of Actionin the context of its multi-year thematic programme of work formonitoring the implementation of Agenda 21. The next meeting ofthe CSD is scheduled for 11-28 April 1995 in New York. The CSDwill focus its work on the following chapters of Agenda 21:poverty, demographics, integrating environment and development indecision-making; biotechnology; major groups; information;financial resources and mechanisms; technology transfer; science,education; land management; forests; desertification; mountains;sustainable agriculture; and biodiversity.

SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES UNIT: Look for theestablishment of this new unit within the Department for PolicyCoordination and Sustainable Development in 1995. Three postshave been recommended: a Unit Chief, who will be responsible forsupervising and coordinating the work of the Unit under theProgramme of Action; an economics affairs officer, who willassist the Chief of the Unit in organizing support and servicingof the intergovernmental and inter-agency meetings on issuesrelating to the implementation of the Programme of Action,maintain liaison with relevant agencies, intergovernmental andnon-governmental organizations, and contribute to the preparationof their respective reports; and a general services supportperson.