Delivered by H.E. Samuelu Laloniu, Permanent Representative of Tuvalu to the United Nations
Mobilizing international solidarity, Accelerating Action and Embarking on New pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda and the Samoa Pathway: Small Island Developing States- Pacific Islands Forum Statement
Delivered at the United Nations High Level Political Forum, HLPF as the statement of the 14 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum
8 July 2020
Madam Moderator, Distinguished Panelists, Excellencies,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the 14 Member States of the Pacific Islands Forum with presence here at the United Nations.
I take this opportunity to express the Pacific’s solidarity and deep condolences for all the lives lost and livelihoods gravely affected during these challenging times.
The onset of COVID-19 has confronted the world in extraordinary ways. As small island states we account for less than 1% of the global population but are home to some of the most at-risk communities in the world.
We face everyday challenges of smallness and isolation in addition to increased vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. Covid-19 has amplified the impact of these challenges. In the midst of this pandemic, our region was also severely impacted by the effects of Cyclone Harold which caused millions of dollars in damages and loss of lives.
Collectively, we remain committed to the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development which ensures the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SAMOA Pathway and fully embraces our Blue Pacific Narrative, underlining the importance of inclusivity and effective cooperation between and within Pacific nations.
The Pacific is finalizing the 2020 Pacific Biennial Report for Sustainable Development, which builds on the recommendations of our first 2018 Quadrennial report and provides a regional update on our progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda, SDGs and SAMOA Pathway.
COVID19 has amplified the impact of our challenges including an over-reliance on limited industries such as tourism, high levels of gender-based and domestic violence and underlying health conditions among our peoples.
It remains uncertain how Pacific countries will cope and recover given limited social protection systems and restricted national budgets. As smaller nations our access to supply chains can be limited, and we call for fair and equitable access to a Covid-19 vaccine, once available.
Development providers must ensure that the specific vulnerabilities of SIDS inform access to concessional finance. In particular we urge reform to incorporate an economic vulnerability measure into the official development assistance eligibility criteria.
National statistical systems in the region will play a critical role in determining how we mobilise resources and assistance. There is a need for additional resources for national and regional statistical stakeholders to ensure that high quality data is produced to guide and monitor economic and social development.
We must focus our response to this pandemic on those whom society so often neglects in order to overcome this crisis as swiftly as possible.
I thank you.