DR. ELSIE CHOUNOUNE // On The Occasion of the National Preparatory Process for the SIDS International Conference 2014

May 6, 2013

• Hon. Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Environment and Climate Change;
• Mrs. Barbara Scott, Deputy Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica
• Lt. Col. Oral Khan, Chief Technical Director in the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change and Chairman for today’s National Consultation
• Ladies and Gentlemen

It is my privilege to be here this morning to deliver remarks on behalf of UNDP at the Opening Ceremony of the National Consultation for Jamaica’s Preparation for the Third International Conference of Small Island Development States (SIDS), which is to be held in Samoa in 2014.

I extend special commendations to the Ministry of Water, Land Environment and Climate Change and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade for fully participating in the coordination and planning of this important national event.  UNDP is pleased to support the Government of Jamaica in this preparatory process for national report and we are grateful to both Ministries for partnering with us and working together over the last two months. We look forward to hearing from the national stakeholders on priority issues for Jamaica, on new and emerging dimensions to ensure that the Synthesis Report for Jamaica is truly a national product.

UNDP has been supporting Jamaica for many years through partnerships with state and non-state agencies and civil societies.  The thematic areas of governance and justice, human rights, poverty reduction and livelihoods, climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster risk reduction and natural resources management are all important in capacity development and building resilience for Jamaica as a Small Island Developing State.  Recently, UNDP has provided Technical Assistance through a Seismic Exploratory Mission in March of this year to assess Jamaica’s seismic risk and determine key steps toward preparedness and risk reduction.

The post-2015 national consultations and report preparation not only coincides with, but is intricately linked to national preparations for the Third Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS).  The post-2015 consultations, which are currently underway here in Jamaica, will significantly contribute to the new architecture and framework for action by the international community under the leadership of the United Nations. The post 2015 national consultations are crucial to setting the strategic priorities for 2015 and beyond because they intend to give a voice to the hitherto ‘voiceless’ segments of society.

The national consultation of the Post-2015 presents the opportunity for national stakeholders to assess national progress towards the MDGs, highlighting achievements and challenges and targets have been met well ahead of the target date of 2015. Specifically, the post-2015 consultation in Jamaica is reviewing the MDG targets, achievements and challenges to identify priorities for the post 2015 agenda. The consultations are being undertaken to incorporate broad, meaningful and active public participation of all major groups of persons within the Jamaican society.

The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States will focus the world’s attention on a group of countries that remain a special case for sustainable development in view of their unique and particular vulnerabilities.

The United Nations General Assembly’s decision is that the Conference will seek to achieve the following objectives:

1. Assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation;
2. Seek a renewed political commitment;
3. Identify new and emerging challenges and opportunities for the sustainable development of SIDS and means of addressing them; and
4. Identify priorities for the sustainable development of SIDS to be considered in the elaboration of the post-2015 UN development agenda.

The resolution calls for “a concise, focused, forward-looking and action-oriented political document.” The small island States have also express their desire to highlight successful partnerships and area of innovation.

National preparatory process consultations are now taking place in Small Island Developing States all over the world in preparation for this important global Conference. These national preparations will feed into regional meetings in June and July of 2013, followed by an inter-regional preparatory meeting scheduled for August or September of this year.

After all Small Island Developing States have completed their preparations, the global process will begin in early 2014, bringing together the full range of stakeholders – Members States, civil society, private sector representatives, and others. As these partners add their voices to those of the SIDS, the expected result will be a constructive and meaningful conference advancing the cause of sustainable development in SIDS, strengthening partnerships, and contributing to the wider dialogue on a sustainable future for all.

The UNDP is a committed partner in the process and we take this opportunity to further commend the Government of Jamaica on agreeing to host the Regional Meeting for the SIDS Preparatory Process, which will be held July 2-4, in Kingston. For our part, the UNDP continues its commitment to work with national partners in identifying and implementing appropriate interventions to meet the human development needs of all Jamaicans, to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals going forward and to ensure sustainable development beyond 2015. The assistance being given to Jamaica will help to further put the country on a path to realizing the Vision 2030 Jamaica, and thus truly make Jamaica ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’.

Thank you.

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