Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Tackling climate change a matter of survival

CLIMATE change is no theoretical discussion for many Small Island Developing States (SIDS), but a matter of survival.

Making this position very clear, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNDP Associate Administrator, Rebeca Grynspan, stressed that any inaction would threaten lives, livelihoods and hard fought for developmental gains.

“We have learnt from our work with all of you and understand that sustainable development is not an option, but the only way forward,” she asserted, while addressing the Inter-Regional Preparatory Meeting of SIDS at the Hilton Barbados.

Speaking ahead of next year’s conference in Apia, Samoa, she stated that SIDS must use the Apia conference “to signal again that they won’t wait for action, but will continue to be effective leaders and role models, demonstrating in practice the change they want to see”.

“The message to other leaders is clear and compelling: Nobody should wait to do the right thing,” she continued.

Global action

Grynspan opined that Apia should be used as a vehicle for global action, pointing out that increasing interdependence would result in the smallest and most vulnerable countries bearing the brunt of events outside their control, unless action was taken at scale.

“Leaders in Rio agreed this was unjust and called for stepped up support for SIDS. In Apia, SIDS can build on this agreement, and the momentum going into 2015, to help generate the financing, technology and support SIDS need, and at the same time influence the post 2015 development agenda,” she stressed.

Furthermore, she observed that next year’s conference would help SIDS combine diverse actors around initiatives that would trigger long-term sustainable development.

 “As described in the Synthesis Report prepared for this meeting, supporting the ‘blue economy’ could – for example – help SIDS carve a niche in the global economy, while protecting and harnessing the oceans to develop fisheries, build tourism and identify new resources,” she added. (JMB)

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