Closing Ceremony of the International Year of Small Island Developing States
Statement by H.E. Ms Gillian Bird, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Thank you Under-Secretary-General Acharya, distinguished Ambassadors, colleagues.
It was almost six months ago that our leaders and Ministers gathered in Apia to adopt
the SAMOA Pathway and launch a wide-ranging set of partnerships for the sustainable development of small island developing states (SIDS).
Today, we stand at the cusp of a new, transformative development agenda, a new roadmap to ensure its implementation, and a new universal agreement on climate change.
As we move towards the post-2015 development agenda, we must not underestimate the huge potential, energy and creativity of SIDS themselves. Islanders are on the front lines of many of today's sustainable development challenges, and as a result, they are also uniquely placed to understand, and respond to them. SIDS' leadership in crafting a stand-alone oceans goal, which Australia strongly supports, is a case in point.
Moreover, harnessing the knowledge that SIDS have built over centuries – as stewards of the oceans and seas – will be instrumental in our efforts to translate a global development agenda into local solutions.
We need to back these solutions by strengthening institutional capacities, encouraging innovation, and supporting private sector cooperation.
One of the concepts gaining momentum in discussions on the post-2015 agenda, and referenced by many here today, is the idea that we should "leave no-one behind" – that the goals and targets we agree to should be met by all groups.
In Australia's view, this means that success should not only be measured by whether the world as a whole meets the targets we set, but also by whether the poorest and most vulnerable can achieve them too.
We see this notion as entirely consistent with what we have been discussing here today. SIDS stand at the forefront of many of the world's key sustainable development challenges – in energy, water, health, economic growth, oceans and natural resource management and climate change – to name but a few. And few countries face the same extent of vulnerability, remoteness and lack of capacity that many SIDS have to deal with.
So in our view, success in the post-2015 development agenda is intrinsically linked to that of small island developing states.
The implementation of the SAMOA Pathway, and ensuring its coherence with the broader development agenda will require coordinated and efficient Secretariat support that is responsive to the needs of SIDS. This should be a key focus of the forthcoming 'comprehensive review' of UN system support to SIDS.
Let me close by once again congratulating all Small Island Developing States on the successful conclusion of the International Year of SIDS. And let us continue the momentum generated by this year to ensure that SIDS voices are heard, and reflected, in the post-2015 development agenda.
(Check against delivery)