Speech: PM Fiame addresses the UN General Assembly

By Fiame Naomi Mataafa 23 September 2023, 1:00PM

Distinguished Heads of State

My Fellow Heads of Government

Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations

Mr. President of the General Assembly

Other Heads of Delegations, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my honour and privilege to deliver this statement on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)

The recently concluded Preparatory Meetings for the 4th International Conference on SIDS, affirms the unwavering commitment of SIDS to implement the 2030 Agenda as we chart a 10-year plan for a resilient and prosperous future for our peoples.

We do recognize that the journey for us will be tough and daunting at times, but we are prepared and have a strong resolve to achieve this. However, we do also recognize and acknowledge that we cannot do this on our own.

Climate Change, the global financial crisis, the COVID-19 Pandemic and geopolitical tensions have taught us that we are even more closely connected than we wish to acknowledge, and that choices made on one end have far and wide reaching devasting impacts on those of us who are many, many miles away. If we are going to uphold and deliver on our strong commitment to “leave no one behind” and “reaching the furthest behind first” we will have to leave nationalism behind and urgently put action to the rhetoric we have been propagating for the past 8 years.

Faced with continuous and multiple crises, and without the ability to address these in any substantial and sustainable way, SIDS are on the proverbial hamster wheel with no way out. Therefore, we need to:

Firstly, take urgent action on the climate change front – more climate financing; drastic cuts and reduction in greenhouse emissions, 1.5 is non-negotiable, everyone is feeling the mighty impacts of this, but not many of us have what it takes to rebounded from the devastation. This forthcoming COP28 needs to be a game changer, results must emanate from it – Loss and Damage Fund needs to be fully operationalized and financed; we need progressive movement from the Global Stocktake; and States Parties need to enhance NDCs.

Secondly, urgent reform of the governance structure and overall working of the international financial architecture. It is time for it to be changed from its archaic approach to finance. We need a system that responds more appropriately to the varied dynamics countries face today; that goes beyond GDP; that takes into account various vulnerabilities and other aspects; that would look to utilize the Multi-Vulnerability Index, Bridgetown Initiative and all other measures that help to facilitate a more holistic and comprehensive insight into a country’s true circumstances. This reform must also allow for a more inclusive and broader participation.

Thirdly, urgently address high indebtedness in SIDS, this can no longer be ignored. There needs to be a concerted effort to address this. As we continually find ourselves in a revolving door between debt and reoccurring debt due to our continuous and constant response to economic, environmental and social shocks caused by external factors.

AOSIS comes ready to be bold and focused on how we approach the next seven years to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. We believe we can do this together, as the international community, if we return to the strong resolve, we had following the MDGs and knowing that if nothing drastic was done we would be worse off than we were as a global community in 1992 in Rio when we spoke of “the Future we want”.

It is time now for us to stop kicking the can further down the road and doing bandage fixes. We have to begin to earnestly address our global development issues, if we are going to begin speaking of a “summit of the future” and “for future generations”. The sad reality is if we do not take care of today, for many of us, there will be no tomorrow or future.

In closing, I appeal to you all to take a pause and let us join forces to make 2030 a year that we can all be proud of.

In this vein, please be assure of AOSIS making our contribution no matter how minute it may be. We are fully committed. We invite you to review our interregional outcome document, the “Praia Declaration” for a better understanding of our contribution. And we look forward to your constructive engagement as together we chart the 10-year Programme of Action for SIDS in 2024.

I thank you.

By Fiame Naomi Mataafa 23 September 2023, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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