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Mauritius and Beyond



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Kanayathu Koshy

Kanayathu Koshy discusses Pacific preparations for the 10-Year Review of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States.

The author is director of the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

In resolution 57/262, the United Nations General Assembly called for an international meeting to undertake a comprehensive review of the implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The Barbados Programme was adopted at the 1994 Global Conference for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States. The 58th session of the General Assembly decided that the international meeting, referred to as BPOA+10, will be held in Port Louis, Mauritius. It will include a segment for high-level politicians.

The Barbados Programme is the first-ever intergovernmental policy prescription to integrate the small islands into the world economy. It sets forth specific actions and measures, in fifteen chapters, prioritizing areas at the national, regional and international levels.

After a decade of effort, the Barbados Programme remains largely unimplemented. It has not been able to capture the required political will to bring about real actions. Small Islands States have limited capacity to respond to the never-ending challenges faced by them and to recover from recurring disasters. Despite extensive national level actions undertaken by these countries, requisite external support has been persistently evading them.

A mid-term review and appraisal of the implementation of the Barbados Programme was undertaken by the General Assembly at its 22nd Special Session in 1999. The five-year review stated that progress in implementing the Programme had been mixed. Limited resources had proved a major problem. Key emerging challenges to the sustainable development of Small Island States were many. The challenges included those related to the implementation of effective strategies for poverty eradication and the pursuit of people-centred development, coping with the effects and the cost of international security threats on travel and tourism, the development of cultural industries, and addressing urgently the growing problem of HIV/AIDS.

It was decided that the ten-year review of the Barbados Programme should seek a renewed political commitment by all countries, including their development partners, for the further implementation of the Barbados Programme through practical and pragmatic actions. The UN resolution also decided to convene regional preparatory meetings, an inter-regional preparatory meeting as well as a three-day PrepCom in New York in 2004 before the Mauritius International Meeting.

Anwarul Chowdhury Mauritius, then, would examine, among other things, why there had been serious shortfalls in the Programme’s implementation over the past ten years, and why matters had not advanced following the Assembly’s five-year review in 1999. It would also be necessary to incorporate concrete actions regarding new and emerging issues, such as HIV/AIDS, new information and communications technologies, security and market access. South-South cooperation should also feature prominently in the efforts to promote sustainable development for Small Island Developing States.

Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States, and Secretary-General of the Mauritius International Meeting

Like the 1994 International Meeting in Barbados, the Mauritius meeting would also be an all- inclusive meeting. The meeting is aimed mainly at heads of states and government, national delegates and leaders from nongovernmental organizations, business, industry and other major groups as well as the scientific and technological community and a whole spectrum of other stakeholders.

The Barbados Programme Review and the Pacific

The Sustainable Development Working Group of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific (CROP) has been coordinating regional preparations and assisting countries in the international preparatory process for BPOA+10. There have been several regional meetings of the CROP group and other stakeholders for a regional submission to the PrepCom and Pacific island countries have made substantial contributions to the discussions and documentation in preparation for the Mauritius meeting.

A Regional Preparatory Meeting for BPOA+10 held at Apia, Samoa, for the Pacific SIDS in August 2003 discussed the major sustainable development issues for the region. These issues included those identified at the BPOA+5 Review in 1999 as well as at the 4th AOSIS Summit held during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 and in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI) of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The following listing is not intended to be exhaustive; however, the following are the main issues that Pacific SIDS would like addressed during and beyond Mauritius:

SIDS Special Case. While the world community has acknowledged time and again the special case of SIDS, the full application of that principle remains as pertinent today for the social, economic and environmental development of SIDS. In an ever-globalizing world, the situation of SIDS continues to be one of exposure and growing vulnerability with an increasing inability to respond to social and environmental stress.

There are many disadvantages that derive from their small size, which are magnified by the fact that many Island States are not only small but are themselves made up of a number of small islands. Those disadvantages include:

  • a narrow range of resources, which forces undue specialization;
  • excessive dependence on international trade and hence vulnerability to global developments;
  • high population density, which increases the pressure on already limited resources;
  • overuse of resources and premature depletion;
  • relatively small watersheds and threatened supplies of fresh water;
  • costly public administration and infrastructure, including transportation and communication; and,
  • limited institutional capacities and domestic markets, which are too small to provide significant scale economies, while their limited export volumes, sometimes from remote locations, lead to high freight costs and reduced competitiveness.

Moreover, small islands tend to have high degrees of endemism and levels of biodiversity, but the relatively small numbers of the various species impose high risks of extinction creating an urgent need for protection.

The protection and promotion of traditional knowledge in the Pacific will be important for the building of resilience to these vulnerabilities.

Real challenges. It is widely recognized among Pacific SIDS that there are causes beyond their direct control that impeded the full and effective implementation of the Barbados Programme. These include:

  • overall decline in overseas development assistance;
  • decline in commodity prices;
  • loss of preferential trade arrangements;
  • global pressure to reduce the size of the public sector;
  • increase in the cost of imported fossil fuels; and,
  • instigation of some donor-driven projects that may be inconsistent with the Barbados Programme.

Expectation of the Barbados Programme outputs. In the review of the Barbados Programme, there is general agreement among Pacific SIDS that "achieving measurable sustainable development in the Pacific region towards improving the quality of life for all" to ensure a people, ocean and islands focus for sustainable development in the Pacific region must be the focus. This was the stand the Pacific SIDS took at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

They have further articulated that the BPOA+10 process should:

  • ensure the sustainable development priorities of the Pacific region are fully acknowledged and integrated in the BPOA+10 outcomes;
  • secure and strengthen political support from the international community for programmes and initiatives that are essential to sustainable development of this region's people, their environment and natural resources;
  • promote new and existing partnerships beneficial to sustainable development of the region;
  • enhance the efficiency of use of existing resources and secure and mobilize resources to build capacity for sustainable development.
  • set targets by which to measure implementation as well as to provide input to other reporting requirements, including the integration of those from the Millennium Development Goals and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.

Multilateral Environment Agreement Reporting. Noting the burden of reporting for SIDS on a variety of multilateral environment agreements, the region calls for simplified reporting procedures and harmonization of reporting requirements.

Pacific Type 2 Partnerships. The Pacific Umbrella Type II World Summit on Sustainable Development Initiatives align with the Chapters of the Barbados Programme. These will continue to be used as platforms to secure new resources to assist with the implementation of the Barbados Programme. In terms of reporting on activities under the Type II Initiatives, this could serve as an important additional source of information on sustainable development activities in the region.

In order to optimize access to non-traditional donors delegates expressed strong support for the Pacific Islands Forum Missions Road Map In pursuit of Implementation of the JPOI for Sustainable Development in the Pacific.

Pacific priorities

The delegates in the 2003 Apia Regional Preparatory Meeting placed priorities on the following areas for the sustainable development of their countries.

  1. Delegates strongly reaffirmed their deep concern in regard to the impacts of climate change, climate variability, sea level rise and extreme weather events as an impediment to sustainable development and called on countries that had not done so to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. They urged the international community to support implementation of the Regional Framework for Climate Change, Climate Variability and Sea Level Rise.
  2. The strengthening of awareness of the Barbados Programme is needed at all levels, noting the difficulties in conducting comprehensive community consultations in the Pacific SIDS, caused by dispersion, vast distances and high transportation costs.
  3. It is crucial to have full and effective implementation at the national and regional level of the Pacific Regional Ocean Policy, which includes the following five guiding principles:
    • improving our understanding of the ocean;
    • sustainably developing and managing the use of ocean resources, including the promotion and utilization of traditional practices;
    • maintaining the health of the ocean;
    • promoting the peaceful use of the ocean; and,
    • creating partnerships and promoting cooperation.
    It is essential that international support for the Policy be secured.
  4. Capacity building for sustainable development in SIDS remains a high priority. This includes capacity issues related to strengthening legal and legislative framework. This requires a support structure at international or regional level, and the need for the development of capacity through the use of regional/national experts for the national/regional training. The expanded use of cooperative arrangements amongst institutions within the region and amongst AOSIS Member States was supported, in order to help bring the regional organizations into a supporting role. This also requires a commitment to improve in-country scientific and technical human resources through training especially at the tertiary level. The importance of capacity building at the national level, including for nongovernmental organizations and community-based organizations, was highlighted. The strategic importance of utilizing the CROP organizations and other regional and international organizations as support mechanisms for sustainable development and that 'centers of excellence' have been noted as a method for working on this aspect of capacity development.
  5. The meeting acknowledged that transport and communication remain important challenges in the promotion and implementation of sustainable development in the region. Programmes in support of the provision of transportation services are urgently needed.
  6. Mechanisms for access to micro financing for sustainable development in remote areas and the use of other innovative small grants programmes to finance community-based sustainable development initiatives should be developed.
  7. The integration of the principles of sustainable development into current planning systems to allow national sustainable development strategies to be properly developed and implemented is at various stages of development in the region. There is a need to determine appropriate tools to actually enable this mainstreaming to be carried out. There is also a continued need to relate the economic instruments of development to the cost of environmental degradation and the costs of repair to the island environment.
  8. Delegates expressed the need for accurate and up-to-date economic, social and environmental data, and recognized the rapidly emerging information tools for national and urban planning, such as geographic information systems (GIS). Delegates called on the international community for support to develop cost-effective and easily accessible tools, such as GIS- based resource information systems at the national and regional levels.
  9. Delegates agreed to the need for full and effective implementation of:
    • the Pacific Wastewater Policy Statement and Framework for Action (2001) with key action areas: governance, awareness, infrastructure and information, financing and capacity building; and,
    • the Pacific Regional Action Plan on Sustainable Water Management (2002), with a clear set of priority actions within a framework of six key areas: water resources management; island vulnerability; awareness, technologies; institutional arrangements and financing.
    Delegates further recalled the JPOI target to effectively reduce, prevent and control waste and pollution and their health-related impacts by undertaking by 2004 initiatives aimed at implementing the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities in Small Island Developing States. In this regard the active involvement and technical and financial support from the Secretariat of the Global Programme of Action to SIDS would be required.
  10. Waste management warrants attention, with a particular focus on the development of national waste management strategies for the reduction, recycling, reuse and appropriate safe disposal of solid, liquid and hazardous wastes. There is a growing concern in the region in regard to the increase in electronic waste. The restriction of the importation or banning of the use of products that excessively contribute to significant waste problems and health concerns should be considered, and SIDS should be encouraged to become parties to the Rotterdam Convention. A growing concern was the security and environmental implications of the disposal and transport of radioactive materials in and through the region and the lack of liability and compensation regimes.
  11. The sustainable use, conservation and management of Pacific biodiversity is a continuing concern. Although most Pacific Islands and territories have rich biodiversity inheritances, this ecologically-fragile biological inheritance is seriously threatened due to both human impacts and natural events. There are already far too many examples of the illegal access, overexploitation, endangerment and extinction of Pacific Island biological resources, and the loss of associated traditional knowledge. To address this issue it is recommended that the Action Strategy for Nature Conservation in the Pacific Islands (2003-2007) be implemented, and that the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans be completed and implemented, and that the Cartagena Protocol be ratified and implemented. The development of rules to legally protect traditional knowledge of indigenous and local communities is needed; the ongoing work in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity was noted. There is a need for regulatory frameworks or instruments that will ensure fair and equitable benefit sharing to indigenous and local communities whilst providing a fair system of access of investors.
  12. Invasive organisms, pests and diseases threaten food and agricultural systems and critical terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and environmental services. In this regard, the regional invasive species strategy should be implemented and further developed to strengthen or develop national invasive species action plans. The international community should be urged to assist the region in the implementation of these strategies and action plans.
  13. The meeting acknowledged and respected the customary nature of the control and ownership of land and nearshore marine resources in the region. It encouraged the international community to consider the critical role that customary tenure systems and local land and resources owners have in driving conservation and sustainable development initiatives and the need for their involvement in planning, implementation and monitoring to ensure sustainability.
  14. Delegates agreed that there is a need to strengthen efforts towards good governance at all levels, noting that at the regional level support is provided to national efforts in political and economic management through the Pacific Islands Forum and the Forum Economic Ministers Meeting, and through the work of CROP organizations promoting responsible management of human and physical resources including the environment. The meeting also noted that governance needs to be expanded to include the notion of economic, social and environmental security. Delegates also noted that security also encompasses food and water security, and the need to address this issue is a matter of urgency.
  15. Delegates recognized the special role that women have in the Pacific in ensuring environment and development issues are sustainably harnessed for the continued health and wellbeing of their families and communities. In this regard, the meeting urges continued action on the Beijing Platform of Action and the International Conference of Population and Development. Further the meeting recognized embedded gender issues in the Millennium Development Goals.

New issues

In addition, there are the following recognized new and emerging issues as recognized by the JPOI and by the region.

  1. Delegates considered that relative poverty was increasing in some parts of the region and includes the scarcity of opportunity, as described in the Pacific Human Development Report (2003), and also expressed deep concern that abject poverty was increasing especially in urban areas and squatter settlements.
  2. The meeting reiterated the region's concern, as reflected in the JPOI, of the increasing incidence of emerging health issues such as HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant malarial strains, dengue fever, nutritional disorders and non-communicable diseases and their impact on sustainable development.
  3. Full and effective implementation is needed of the Pacific Islands Regional Information and Communication Technologies Policy (2002) with emphasis on its four guiding principles:
    • Information and Communication Technology will be used to inform and connect Pacific Island populations and ensure that they benefit from flexible and appropriate education and training;
    • appropriate Information and Communication Technology infrastructure will be developed to support development for Pacific islands;
    • easy access to information through Information and Communication Technology will strengthen cooperation between stakeholders to ensure good governance, to develop the private sector and to improve service delivery; and,
    • Information and Communication Technology policies and regulations will facilitate development of the sector and be appropriate to the people and cultures of the Pacific islands.
  4. Renewed commitment to find effective ways and means to develop community-based initiatives on sustainable tourism by 2004, and build the capacities necessary to diversify tourism products, while protecting culture and traditions, and effectively conserving and managing natural resources, in particular through community consultations and effective capacity building.
  5. Renewed commitment to the full and effective implementation of the Pacific Islands Regional Energy Policy (2001) to ensure available, reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy for sustainable development for all in the region. Delegates also recognized the importance of finding ways and means to fulfil the agreement in the JPOI on energy for SIDS, and calls on the United Nations to assist SIDS in developing and implementing national, sub- regional and regional initiatives to this end by 2004, while taking into account the need for financial and technical resources from the GEF, bilateral and multilateral sources, or through other innovative financial mechanisms, welcoming and strongly supporting the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition of which AOSIS was a founding member.
  6. The meeting was concerned over the accelerating breakdown of the diverse agricultural and food systems that have been a foundation for sustainability, food security and nutritional wellbeing in the Pacific Islands for millennia. It was particularly concerned over increasing dependency on imported food, fuel, medicines and other products and the related increase in nutrition-related ill-health. The meeting strongly urged that future Food and Agriculture Organization initiatives, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Food Security initiative and Forests and Trees Support Programme and all other relevant food and agriculture initiatives include components that attempt to build on and enhance these time-tested systems, rather than replacing or degrading them with monocultural systems and imported foods.
  7. The meeting highlighted the need for flexibility on how international projects and programmes are implemented at the national, sub-national and local levels.
  8. The delegates noted the potential environmental and social effects of trading regimes, while also noting the importance of trade to the sustainable development of SIDS, as were the difficulties encountered by SIDS in interactions with the World Trade Organization. It is recognized that these issues will continue, and that further elaboration will be required, especially in light of developments at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in 2003. Furthermore, concerted action will be required to address the effects of trading regimes on SIDS.
  9. The meeting recognized the key role played by youth in promoting a sustainable development future for the region, and noted the importance of encouraging youth to contribute to the decision making process for sustainable development. It reiterated the commitment in the JPOI, which calls for the promotion and support of youth participation through, for example, supporting local youth councils or their equivalent, and by encouraging their establishment where they do not exist. In this regard, the meeting welcomed the voluntary work of the Pacific Youth Environmental Network and encourages the strengthening of that voluntary mechanism.

Preparatory Meetings

Along with the Apia meeting, two other Regional Preparatory Meetings were held, covering the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea SIDS (held September 2003, in Praia, Cape Verde) and the Caribbean SIDS (held October 2003, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago).

The regional meetings held in-depth discussions on SIDS vulnerability and raised issues such as climate change, trade dependence, small-scale economies, lack of freshwater resources, biodiversity, energy dependence, waste management, limited institutional capacity and access to technology. The potential for the development of renewable energy, ecotourism and partnerships were noted as opportunities for all regions.

The meetings also underscored the importance of civil society participation and identified new and emerging issues such as security, health, trade and poverty, as discussed above.

Each of these meetings produced a Regional Position Paper for BPOA+10, highlighting the achievements, key issues, challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the the Barbados Programme in each region. The meetings reaffirmed the validity of the Barbados Programme as a guideline for the sustainable development of SIDS.

Jagdish Koonjul The long and arduous road - from the breakthrough at Rio in 1992 to concrete commitments made at Barbados in 1994 - that had finally led to the recognition of the special challenges those States faced, had yielded some success. But, looking back over the ten years since Barbados, it was clear that those successes could largely be attributed to the efforts made at the domestic level and through national measures handled with meagre resources. As the struggle to implement the Barbados Programme continued, it was important to recognize that changing external and internal circumstances were creating greater challenges for the small island developing States. The current environment, therefore, called for greater understanding and cooperation from the wider international community in reaffirming their commitments from both Rio and Barbados.

Jagdish Koonjul, Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States

Following these regional meetings, over 300 participants, including 13 ambassadors, 22 ministers and deputy ministers, as well as representatives of UN agencies and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations attended the Nassau Inter-regional Preparatory Meeting, held 26-30th January 2004.

The main objective of this meeting was to synthesize the regional position papers into an AOSIS Strategy Paper and to produce a Nassau Declaration highlighting SIDS achievements and challenges in the implementation of the Barbados Programme.

The AOSIS Strategy Paper is structured to highlight the importance of the issues discussed in the Barbados Programme and the new issues such as trade globalization and liberalization, sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development, sustainable consumption and production, national enabling environments, health, particularly HIV/AIDS, knowledge management and information and communication technology, culture, access to financial resources, and the most important issue of implementation.

The outcome of this meeting was the basis for consultation at the New York PrepCom, which took place at the UN headquarters in New York 14-16th April 2004. The meeting commenced with the official opening of the 12th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-12), tasked to undertake the PrepCom for BPOA+10.

The PrepCom was entrusted with carrying out an in-depth assessment and appraisal of the AOSIS Strategy Paper for final consideration at BPOA+10, including its agenda and other organizational matters. In this context, the Commission on Sustainable Development bureau functioned as the bureau of the preparatory meeting.

The AOSIS Strategy Paper from the Nassau Inter-regional Meeting was accepted as the negotiating text for Mauritius. Despite comments that the document was too long, needed structural adjustments and that it lacked focus, there was general agreement that the document addressed the range of issues confronting SIDS in a holistic manner and that a 'full and frank' discussion and commitment are the best way forward.

Considering the constraint of time available for negotiating the BPOA+10 outcome document at the New York preparatory meeting, additional informal consultations took place in the following months.

Goals of the Barbados Programme and links with other multilateral commitments

There is much common ground between the goals of the Barbados Programme of Action and related multilateral agreements.

The Barbados Programme of Action covered the following issues: climate change, tourism, natural disasters, wastes, freshwater, land resources, energy, biodiversity and transport. The International Meeting in Mauritius is also expected to address emerging issues that affect small islands: trade, HIV/AIDS, information technology, new security concerns, and the economic potential of island cultures.

If we look at Millennium Development Goals, we see that the goals include the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, universal primary education, gender equality and empowerment of women, reduction in child mortality, improvement in maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

The goals of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development cover: poverty alleviation, changing unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development, sustainable development in a globalising world, health, sustainable development of SIDS, institutional framework and means of implementation.

The AOSIS Strategy Paper from Nassau highlighted the following areas of priority:

  • climate change and sea-level rise;
  • natural and environmental disasters;
  • coastal and marine resource;
  • tourism resources;
  • biodiversity resources;
  • transport and communication;
  • science and technology;
  • globalization and trade liberalization;
  • sustainable capacity development and education for sustainable development;
  • national enabling environments;
  • health;
  • knowledge management and information for decision making;
  • culture;
  • implementation;
  • access to financial resources; and,
  • monitoring and evaluation.

It is becoming increasingly evident that one can hardly escape the commonalties of themes among all these major multilateral agreements, as summarized below:

Partnership. In developing sustainable development strategies in the Pacific, every effort must be made to promote partnership. Such an effort should involve a collaborative approach that includes the SIDS, the regional organizations such as CROP, the development partners, the donor community, and the United Nations system. Progress in partnership may be reviewed within the new framework and the established programme of work of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Information and knowledge management. There is a need for strengthened regional mechanisms for cooperation to share information and lessons learned, to promote regional and interregional exchange and to undertake joint projects and research activities, thus enhancing the generation and dissemination of information to support the implementation of sustainable development in island States. Knowledge generation and management are important factors here. A critical requirement in implementing national sustainable development strategies is a supporting infrastructure for the effective exchange and movement of information. With international backing, the Small Island Developing States Information Network, SIDSNET, should be restructured to assist the SIDS more effectively.

Donor financing. The establishment of effective sustainable development financing mechanisms is needed, including through regional development banks. This should encompass innovative financing, such as social investment funds to help alleviate poverty. There is also a need to develop a small grants programme for capacity development for sustainable development, using the United Nations Development Programme for seed funding. The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme is now being extended and will provide opportunities in this regard. Additional sources of seed funding should be identified.

Capacity building. In the area of capacity-building, international and regional support and assistance would be welcome for the proposed establishment of a consortium of tertiary institutions for capacity development and education, and for standard-setting for sustainable development in SIDS. There is a need to ensure that sustainable development education and training provides linkages between sectors such as water, energy, land and coastal zones. There should be a national-level commitment to ensure that education maintains a strong relevance to local conditions, notably by reviewing curricula so that they meet the needs of communities. Practical applications of education in management and participatory skills are needed, as well as information and communications technology and vocational training. Applications of science and technology and targeted and internationally important research are vital to improved understanding and decision making leading to sustainable development. The success of SIDS in implementing the Programme of Action at the national level will depend on effective human, institutional and technical capacity related to policy development and monitoring of implementation and coordination, especially through the support of national and regional organizations. In promoting science and technology and creating knowledge-based societies, the international community too has a great responsibility. The International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and its subsidiary programmes, and global change research networks such as START, the Asia Pacific Network for Global Change Research and the InterAmerican Institute for Global Change Research and United Nations system bodies such as UNESCO and UNEP have been highlighting the need for science and technology for sustainable development. Finally, there is need to strengthen observational capacity relating to all aspects of the climate system, improve weather and climate forecasting, support the modelling community to improve climate scenario generation and carry out assessments and synthesis work of the type carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There is an obvious need to boost science and technology education at all levels.

The challenge for BPOA+10

The overriding objective of the ten-year review in Mauritius will be to generate renewed political commitment by all stakeholders on practical actions to further the sustainable development of SIDS. The outcome must be focused, practical, cost-effective and, above all, implementable. It should be agreed with the wholehearted support of the SIDS and their development partners so that the follow-up and implementation gather momentum subsequently.

The spirit of partnership remains the most important ingredient that would make the outcome of the International Meeting in Mauritius worthwhile and its realization possible. The role of civil society and the private sector, as well as the potential for South-South cooperation, needs to be identified clearly.

As the Secretary-General of the Mauritius meeting underscored recently: "The international community, equipped with the lessons of the last the years, needs to come together to support, in real terms, the genuine aspirations of the SIDS and their determined efforts for a new resurgence in Mauritius to bring true benefit and progress for the women, men and children of this most vulnerable segment of the humanity."

The catchphrase for the Mauritius conference, "Small Islands, Big Stakes," perhaps sums it all up. The current environment in Small Island Developing States calls for greater understanding and cooperation from the wider international community in reaffirming their commitments from both Rio and Barbados.


Further information
Kanayathu Koshy, Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific, PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji. Fax: +679-3-309176. Email: koshy_k@usp.ac.fj. Web: www.sidsnet.org/pacific/usp/pace/.

On the Web
Further information concerning the review of progress in implementing the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States can be found at the conference website. The Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary presents a listing of theme sites and articles on Small Island Developing States.

Acknowledgements
In preparing this article, the following documents, among others, have been widely used: CSD Press release ENV/DEV/763, report by Professors Spike Boydell and Randy Thaman from the Apia Regional Meeting for BPOA+10, daily reports from IISD from the Nassau and New York PrepComs and the author's notes from Johannesburg and the BPOA+10 preparatory meetings attended in the Pacific region, the Bahamas and New York.

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Tiempo Climate Newswatch
Updated: April 12th 2013