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The second document emanating from this Conference was the Declaration of Barbados (A/CONF.167/L.4/Rev.1). The Declaration is intended as a statement of the political will that underpins the precise agreements contained in the Programme of Action.

The Declaration reaffirms the UNCED agreements, including the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Statement of Forest Principles, Agenda 21, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Casting itself in the spirit of those agreements, the Declaration contains two parts. In the first, the participants at the Conference affirm the importance of: human resources and cultural heritage; gender equity; the role of women and other major groups, including children, youth and indigenous people; the sovereign right of SIDS over their own natural resources; vulnerability to natural and environmental disasters; climate change and sea level rise; limited freshwater resources; special situation and needs of the least developed SIDS; economic vulnerability; capacity building; constraints to sustainable development; and partnership between Governments, IGOs, NGOs and other major groups in implementing Agenda 21 and this Programme of Action.

In the second part, the participants declare the importance of national, regional and international implementation, including the reduction and elimination of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, and the provision of effective means for the implementation of the Programme of Action, including adequate, predictable, new and additional financial resources.

The final version of the Declaration reveals the extent of the edits that had to be made by the UN Secretariat after the Plenary had reached agreement in principle. The Declaration made tortuous progress through a number of drafts and formats, and emerged in the end as a relatively clear statement of the contradictory nature of life in the small island developing States and the recognition now accorded to their specific plight within the international community.

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